[Tweeters] Merlin research project

Benjamin Johnson tiger80 at hotmail.com
Wed Mar 2 08:20:35 PST 2016

Hello All. The days are getting longer and the birds are starting to sing, including the merlins. Kim and I are entering into the fourth year of our merlin research project. This project is investigating merlin nest site characteristics, nesting success and density, site and pair fidelity, and annual movements.

In 2015 we followed 6 nests from incubation to fledging in the greater-Seattle area. All 6 nests successfully fledged young, producing at least 18 young merlins by our count, with an average of 3.0 fledglings per successful nest. All nests occurred in Douglas fir trees, near the top of trees.

In addition, thanks in large part to the great merlin observations all you tweeters reported to us, we were able to locate 4 more territories that contained recently fledged young. These territories produced a minimum of 7 more young merlins. We're hoping that having located these new territories last year will lead to finding 4 more nests this year.

To track individual merlin movements and relationships we band some merlins with blue or red color bands. Each color band has a two character code that identifies the merlin. Blue bands use two letters, stacked one on top of the other, read top to bottom. Red bands use two numbers, side-by-side, read left to right. These bands can be read with a spotting scope. If you happen to be watching a merlin through your scope take a look at its legs when it stretches or moves around and you might see a colored band. We'd love to hear about any banded merlin sightings.

We'd like to thank everyone who contributed banded merlin sightings or merlin observations last year. It was very helpful for our study and we appreciate all the reports we received. As we approach another breeding season we again would be very interested and appreciative of any banded merlin sightings or possible breeding activity that you may observe, or even general merlin observations. If you are so inclined to share your observations please contact Ben Vang-Johnson (bvjohnson87 at gmail dot com<mailto:bvjohnson87%20at%20gmail%20dot%20com>) or Kim McCormick (<mailto:kim.mccormick at comcast.net>kim.mccormick at comcast dot net<mailto:kim.mccormick at comcast.net>).

Thank you,


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