FEISTY AFTER FALL: This nestling merlin fell from a nest at a Willingdon Beach campsite. The whole merlin family was being hassled by crows.
It is basically a tradition that crows hassle merlins and merlins hassle crows. Often merlins don’t even build their own nest but simply take over a crow, raven or hawk’s nest with a good view of the surrounding area. Sometimes they also nest in tree cavities, on cliffs, or even on the ground.
Now breeding more frequently in towns and cities, they often take over crow nests in conifers planted in residential areas, schoolyards, parks, cemeteries and campgrounds. No wonder the crows were upset.
Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society was called and after checking the young merlin over for injuries, sent it to Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society in Delta, who have the proper facilities to raise it, namely, other recovering adult merlins who will feed it and teach it survival techniques like hunting.
After four weeks, this young merlin returned to Powell River and was released back at Willingdon Beach. The feisty youngster came out of the cage and went straight up into a tall cedar, ensuring he would not be picked up again. After calling for his parents, he was ready for life in the wide open spaces.
Merlins are small, fierce falcons and powerful fliers. With more rapid wing beats and overall dark tones than larger falcons, they use surprise attacks to bring down small songbirds and shorebirds.