Search Results for "merlin"

  • Bird of the Month: The Merlin

    By Zach Smith Often overlooked by all but the most serious birders is the Merlin (Falco columbarius). From fall through early spring, this dove-sized member of the falcon family (Falconidae) haunts open habitats with scattered trees in search of sparrows, starlings, finches, Horned Larks, and other flocking songbirds around Prescott. Their Latin name, columbariues, means “dove-like” and refers to the resemblance of their flight to that of a dove or pigeon. The famous saying “off on a lark” comes from ancient falconers who hunted larks with Merlins. Two fairly reliable places to find Merlins are Willow Lake and Chino Valley. Seek them out on trees, poles, and fences bordering open areas. Locating one usually requires a keen eye and a bit of luck because they don’t want to be seen. That’s because larger raptors are known to attack smaller species, Merlins included. Plus, they must keep a low profile so as not to alarm potential prey as to their presence. This balancing act is played out among many organisms in the natural world: Try to eat without being eaten. Witnessing a Merlin hunt is a rare occurrence but not one soon forgotten — as long as you can follow the action. They attack at impossible speeds with aerial agility that seems to defy physics. True to their namesake, they’re definitely wizards. As with other raptors, Merlins frequently use man-made structures

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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