[Tweeters] Merlins

Bud E-mail bud at frg.org
Tue Jul 26 13:59:03 PDT 2005

As many of you know, Merlins are a pretty rare nesting species in WA. There is not much historic information available for our state and their numbers have always appeared to be small. That all began to change in 2000 when a pair was found nesting in Bellingham. To my knowledge, this was the first definite record of Merlins breeding in a city in Washington. Since then, they have apparently been expanding their range into other cities and are now found breeding in Mt. Vernon (up to 3 pairs), Sedro Woolley, Anacortes, Lake Stevens and Marysville. This pattern of an increase among city breeders is typical for the species as shown by the population explosions in Saskatoon and other Canadian cities.
Over the last two years there has been an increase in summer Merlin sightings in Seattle. These could be non-breeders or year old birds or they could be associated with a nesting attempt. We have been getting several sightings from both Ballard and from the area around the Seattle Audubon office near 80th and 35th NE this month. We don't know if these are breeding records or not. At other sites (Anacortes and Mt. Vernon), the young have already fledged but are still in fairly conspicuous, noisy family groups at this time of year.
So I just wanted to encourage those of you living in Seattle to be aware of the situation. It would be nice to pinpoint the first breeding record for the city and it could be this year. So I'd be interested to know if anyone is seeing a family group....

Bud Anderson
Falcon Research Group
Box 248
Bow, WA 98232
(360) 757-1911
bud at frg.org

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