I agree with Eve's comments regarding Merlins in winter. In recent years,
the status of Merlins in the northeast has changed dramatically. It wasn't
too long ago that a report of a Merlin in winter was very unusual. Perhaps
many possible records were discounted as being misidentified Sharp-shinned
Hawks. But, over the past twenty years or so, Merlins have definitely moved
in. And not only are they overwintering, they are now nesting in our region.
They have even become something of an "urban raptor", now being found
nesting in some of our larger cities.
I don't think this change has been at the expense of any of our other
raptors since the accipiters seem to be doing well and the Peregrines can
take care of themselves. The Amer. Kestrel, on the other hand, has been in
serious decline over the same time period, but they occupy a different
habitat and, for the most part, don't compete with Merlins for the same
I am sure that we'd all like to see a turnaround in the Kestrel situation.
Perhaps that can be helped if folks, who have the opportunity, can put out
Kestrel nest boxes. A similar program worked for our bluebirds. The NY
Chapter of National Audubon Society has lots of suggestions for starting a
successful Kestrel nest box program. Art Gingert, of West Cornwall, CT has
posted a design that has proven to be successful after his 30 plus years of
design and development. Check it out at:
The Greene County
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From: Vermont Birds [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of eve ticknor
Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2013 9:08 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] Identification help - Merlin in January?
This book is very good for raptor id's. You do have a Merlin. Ranges are
changing from time to time. I have lived in Ontario for some time and pas
back and forth between there and Essex, NY. We have had Merlins pass the
winter in Ottawa as well as outside the city, so I am not surprised that
you have one where you are.
On 2013-02-02, at 4:24 PM, Jane Stein wrote:
> By the way, Kevin, if you're frustrated by hawk ID, which is pretty lousy
in most general field guides and only a bit better in Sibley, I hugely
recommend a book called "Photographic Guide to North American Raptors" by
Wheeler and Clark. It's about $20 in large-format paperback.
> It's not only got superbly clear photographs of each raptor, male and
female, adult and immature, perched and in flight, but extremely good
condensed descriptions, including comparisons of similar birds and what the
key points of difference are-- all in about half a page of text, so easy to
scan for what you need.
> On 2/2/2013 2:20 PM, Kevin Thorley wrote:
>> I took these a few weeks ago at Colchester Bog. The quality is
>> awful, but I am hoping it is enough for someone to help with an ID.
>> According to the Sibley guide, Merlins are not likely to be seen here
>> in the winter. My other guess would be an accipiter. Thoughts?
>> No virus found in this message.
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