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Hank Vander Velde | all galleries >> Hawks & Falcons > 20080807 D300 053 Merlin (Juv).jpg
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20080807 D300 053 Merlin (Juv).jpg
07-AUG-2008 Hank v/d Velde

20080807 D300 053 Merlin (Juv).jpg

My backyard

Five images depicting activities and behavior of young Merlins, just fledged.

A few days ago, I posted the last of a series of images of the young and the adult Merlins which had a nest in a pine tree a few homes away from ours. The day after I took those shots, the young left the immediate area of the nest and I couldn't locate them for a few days. Then I saw two of the young again, early one morning, they were flying around and perched high up in a spruce tree across the road from their own nest.

Shortly after that, one of the young perched itself high up in a spruce tree right behind our house, to the consternation and loud protest of some Robins and some goldfinches which obviously had nests up in that tree. The young Merlin couldn't seem to figure out what all the fuss was about as can be seen in some of the attached images. Obviously it either had a full stomach or hadn't yet learned how to catch its own prey. One of the Robins had its beak full of worms indicating that there were young Robins in their nest which seemed to be located not far from where the Merlin was perched. The young Merlin stayed for some time observing the Robins fly by and listening to their squawking as well as that of the finches.

The next morning, I again saw the Merlin up in the tree behind our house, perched on the same branch and again being harassed by the Robins. There was also a Crow up in the peak of the tree. The crow simply observed the activities about 10 feet below it and made no attempt at squawking or dive bombing. Perhaps it was waiting for reinforcements. In any case, as soon as I stepped out on to our deck, the Crow left, followed closely by the Merlin. Later that afternoon I noticed that a Robin had taken over the Merlins perch, standing guard as it were. I thought that perhaps it would be the Merlin's first catch; however, I have not seen the Merlin since.

In the above image, the Merlin appears to be ignoring the earful it is getting from one of the Robins.

In this image, the Merlin appears not to want to look at a second Robin which is perched close to its nest with its beak full of worms.

Here, the Merlin seems to be asking itself, "Now, what's that Robin doing down there?"

The Merlin seems to be taking a closer look at the lower perched Robin.

Last image: "Oops, there it goes."

Nikon D300 ,Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR
1/640s f/13.0 at 500.0mm iso400 full exif

other sizes: small medium original
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