Every year, I become more intrigued with the act of watching birds. The book, Birds Art Life by Kyo Maclear put some of that into perspective for me…in fact, when I poured over the pages, it was the first time that I could really connect with why I am so driven to investigate Frank’s Flats; the wildlife, landscape, atmospheric changes and ecosystems.
I think that Maclear proposes that there is a single spark bird that draws the everyday person into the act of bird watching. However, for me, it seems that every year, in springtime, I am renewed to the experience by a particular bird.
This year, that bird is this one, a Merlin. And…I could be wrong in my identification and challenge my readers to look at its markings and confirm with me if I am mistaken or correct. About three years ago, in my neighbourhood park, I noticed a nesting couple and likely heard them first. They have a very particular high pitched call.
Adult male (Prairie)
- Light blue-gray crown
- Pale face with no distinct pattern
- Streaked breast
- Dark eye with pale eyebrow
- Prairie subspecies occurs in Great Plains states and southern Canada
This year, I’ve been close enough to the nesting pair to have received a bit of an annoyed reaction. They are very defensive birds and protective during the nesting period. As I’ve discovered on line, their talons and beaks provide for some very nasty feeding frenzies on pigeons, sparrows, mice and I’m guessing that they could do a mean attack on young children or dogs if they felt challenged.
So, for now, I’ll watch from a distance. They are just beautiful!
Usually, one remains in a sparse deciduous tree or atop a power pole some distance from the nest, while the other stays tucked into the evergreen tree, a nest that was stolen from a mating magpie pair three seasons ago.
Recent photographs have helped me to make some distinctions in the small raptor, however, I’m still learning. I got some good shots of the nesting adult yesterday. I invite any feedback about these or other raptors as I expand my knowledge.