merlins catching pigeons and...

newboldwildlife at newboldwildlife at
Fri Mar 22 22:59:29 PST 2002

Hi all,
I have two good photos of Merlins standing on pigeons that they just caught and are beginning to eat, one from Olympia and one from near Met Park in downtown Seattle. They both look like female Merlins. At the other extreme we once witnessed Stuart the Peregrine with a House Sparrow at the market. (he dropped it on the ground, eventually got it back after we threw it up on the roof of the arcade).
To continue the Sparrow thread with oh-so-deepest apologies, I notice that House Sparrows seem much more willing to quickly flee to brush at the slightest disturbance than do juncos or native sparrows, so I wouldn't be surprised if they are preyed upon less by the bird hawks.
I wonder if House Sparrows aren't in some kind of relationship with Starlings around here, as House Sparrows often seem to be mixed in any time a foraging Starling flock comes around here, and I've seen House Sparrows stealing grubs from Starlings by hitting them hard in the face and making the Starling drop the grub it has just dug up.
I don't think we should mention densities of Crow, Starling or House Sparrow in the Northwest without putting the lion share of blame on the lawn mower. Reducing lawn will ultimately reduce these three species that are all mostly or somewhat lawn-dependent.
--Ed Newbold, Beacon Hill, Seattle, where a White Crowned Sparrow was singing yesterday morning, newboldwildlife at


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