Merlin Nest Success 2018 In Brief. During each of the preceding 3 years I monitored 7 Merlin nests near Ithaca that collectively had about a 50% nest success. This is quite low according to other surveys and probably would not produce enough young that survive to breeding age to replace the annual mortality. Most of the nests were discovered by others and reported to me. Thanks to all who were involved, especially Anne Clark and all the crow people, and Debbie Mahoney. This year I monitored 4 nests, all of which fledged young. Freeville, 3 fledged young. Sorry but I forget who told me that there was a Merlin heard in Freeville, which started me on this search. Tioga Point Cemetery, Sayre, PA, 2 young. Thanks to Bill Howe. Near corner Pinewood Place and Sycamore Drive in at 112 Sycamore, 3 fledged young. Thanks to Brad Walker and the crow people Hanshaw Rd, about 20 m south side of road, west of Blackstone Ave. 4 fledged young, Thanks to the Doerr family.
Some detail I had a terrible time this year tracking down nests of reported pairs of birds. I made about 15 visits to Dryden to find a nest. On several visits the male and female were conspicuous. One the female sat on a potential nest, but never nested there. Kevin McGowan forwarded to me a report of a pair at a tree with a last year's crow nest at Hancock and Dey. After 3 or 4 mornings of 1 to 1.5 hours walking, I never found the pair again. I'm sorry but I have forgotten who told Kevin, but thanks. I made 5 visits to Wells College campus, but never pinned down the nest. The pair were fairly conspicuous and several people reported seeing/hearing the pair I made a trip to Endicott for a definite nesting tree with nest, only to have the pair disappear from there, and another trip to Whitney Point area to a road where Merlin had been seen twice this spring, once carrying prey, but no luck. Thanks Victor and others for all the help. I chased a pair around Christopher Circle, Brandywine, Winthrop, Sandra Place and that area, probably 6 or 7 times, frequently seeing both birds, sure that I had found the nest on one occasion, only to have the pair disappear. But, hiking with your dog is good for you, isn't it. Even with the successful Freeville nest. it turned out to be not easy and was frustrating. I watched the female sitting in a nest in Freeville for ten minutes and was certain I had the nest tree, which provided great joy. Only, for no known reason I knew she was gone the next two visits. Eventually I picked up flight into another tree and found the nest. The tree was on the edge of an elementary school playground and for a few hours every day there were a lot of noisy Kids nearby. Eventually they did fledge at least three young. Birchwood then Sycamore then Salem then Sycamore nest. Brad Walker told me about a male calling north of his house on Hanshaw and south of Birchwood. Indeed it was there several times in the nest three days including the morning when I spent an extra hour there waiting for AAA to open my car that had the keys inside. Then the pair called and flew around and landed in a spruce on Sycamore. Then the pair wasn't seen in two visits. Then the pair was seen on two days with the female going into and out of a spruce in the backyard of a home on Salem, close to Hanshaw. Then the pair finally selected a nest in a spruce on Sycamore. Anne Clark and her students spent a great deal of time looking for crow nests in this area last year, and other years as well. She was fairly certain that she knew all the crow nests in that area, and raised the possibility that it was a Cooper's Hawk nest. Certainly not known, but interesting. Tobias and Venu Doerr reported via someone at the lab and I forget who, but thanks, a nest in the yard adjacent to there's on Hanshaw. I was feeling a little frustrated on nest finding when I got the email, and suspected some mistake in identification. I drove into their driveway, looked up into a spruce tree, saw a nest, got the scope on it, and there she was. The entire family (i.e., human family) provided enthusiasm, nice observations including a feather collection from prey with a probable Bobolink, and incredibly easy access (a park in their drive and watch the Merlin nest. To add insult to injury for the birds that evaded me, Nancy Cusomano contacted me that Morgan Hapeman, who runs the Finger Lakes Raptor Center had attained two nestling Merlin via the Cornell Vet School . One was found north of Argos Inn off MLK street and the other in bushes in downtown Ithaca. They were both of the same age, and probably from the same nest. Now how in the world did I and all the rest of the Ithaca birders miss a Merlin nest near MLK Street in downtown Ithaca. Considering the time I spent in that area looking/listening for a Merlin, it is a bit embarrassing. Occasionally, I have had birds that "tested" one or another nest, only to leave it and nest in another in previous years. This year the birds seem to do a major amount of trial and reject. I've not had this much difficulty before. Obviously, I need help finding nests. Maybe next year? thanks so very much to all how helped, John -- Cayugabirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsWELCOME http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsRULES http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://email@example.com/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds 3) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --