I am again this year trying to monitor nest location, nesting success, and prey 
brought to nests by Merlin. Last year thanks to the help of many on the 
listserve, I, Mark Witmer, Madeline Ulinski, Ann Herzig, and Sam Ayers reported 
on 7 regional nests  in the article "NESTING MERLINS (Falco columbarius) IN AND 
NEAR ITHACA, NEW YORK, 2015" in the September issue of The Kingbird. Our sample 
of 7 nests was interesting to find for the Ithaca area, but is not 
statistically very meaningful.

So far this year, with help from several people, particularly the crow people, 
I have located five nests or nesting areas. As of this morning, I watched three 
females sitting near a nest and occasionally flying up to the probable nest, 
but not sitting on the nest for a prolonged time. The male and female drive 
other birds and squirrels away, perhaps because the female has laid an 
incomplete clutch and they are trying to protect the eggs prior to incubation. 
I am reluctant to share these nest locations until the female starts prolonged 
sitting on the nest, indicative of a complete clutch and a high probability of 
staying on the nest, which greatly decreases the probability of abandoning the 
nest area. When incubation starts, I will be glad to share these locations of 
the nests of these attractive and photogenic birds then. Last year, the 
earliest known incubation was on 4 May. The tally of five nests includes a 
report of Merlin on Wells College campus, as last year. I don't have time to 
get up there to monitor that nest. Any takers?

In the mean time, I am trying to add to that small sample again this year. Any 
reports of the location of nesting behavior by Merlins would be appreciated. 

Kee kee kee kee kee

John Confer
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