In the last 5 years I have monitored 25 Merlin nests. Results are to be included in a poster for a professional Behavior conference. The accumulated data are used to help understand Merlin nesting biology. Many of the nests were reported to me by others. I have followed up on every Merlin nest report to eBird for Tomplins County, thanks. I would appreciate any additional information. I do not share the location of nests that can only be seen from private property. Merlin are well adapted to human presence, sometimes even nesting over busy sidewalks, or bordering school playgrounds. Nonetheless, I do not share the location of nests until the adults are feeding young. By this time the adults are extremely unlikely to abandon a nest due to additional human presence.
ONLY IN ITHACA. I was trying to verify a nest location this morning. I walked up to a viewing location carrying my scope on a tripod and binoculars around my neck (with my dog on a leash). As I walked up to a viewing spot for the probably nest, three people were getting out of a parked car and began gesturing upward. One turned toward me and asked if the pair of birds over their heads were Merlin. (Why they would ask me, I don't know.) Indeed, the female was plucking a small gray bird with a white abdomen and undertail coverts (but neither head nor tail because the male had helpfully partially plucked the bird for his mate. The feathers were dropping down to the sidewalk. As I watched the pair of birds waiting to see if either would fly to the putative nest, someone came out of a house with her daughter and asked if they could see the bird. Turns out she had a summer internship on a Spotted Owl project. Her higher pitched voice was better at attracting the owls than that of her supervisor, a point of some pride. While we watched the pair of birds another woman came down the sidewalk. She said she had seen the birds before and recognized that they were hawks. She thought they were smaller than red-tails and she planned to use her "Merlin app" to try to identify them. I admit there were two people who passed by with eyes averted as if ignoring this wierd person with a scope and tripod standing on the sidewalk. But really, 3 of 5 groups of people who walked by knew about Merlin. Where else but Ithaca could you watch a pair of falcons and see the city downtown while standing on a busy sidewalk next to a busy street with 60% of the passerbys wanting to know more about the falcons? (See, I didn't tell you where the birds were.) Incidentally, neither female nor male went to the putative nest in a half hour making me think that on this cold morning she had not begun to incubate. 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/ --