[Tweeters] Fwd: Merlin calls to listen for from now through early August

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Sat May 7 17:19:06 PDT 2016

> From: Barbara Deihl <barbdeihl at comcast.net>

> Date: May 7, 2016 5:04:18 PM PDT

> To: Tweeters at u.washington.edu

> Subject: Merlin calls to listen for from now through early August


> Merlin pairs are courting and some are now on eggs - there are quite a few out in our neighborhoods this year, but not all are settled on a nest site and some are not exactly following the courtship protocols (probably a good number of first-timers for this nesting thing). The main vocal call that will catch your attention is the begging call, now being emitted by the females, to elicit a hunting session for food for her - it's the main job of males. Once they are on eggs, they do go quiet for a spell, until, usually around the end of May (give or take a couple of weeks), the eggs start hatching and, with more mouths to feed, the calling will increase and increase, particularly in the early mornings and evenings. The nestlings and fledglings contribute to the begging and you can get a real chorus erupting up in the 100ft. conifer trees they use to nest and feed. Two other call styles the Merlins use are the 'chitter' and the 'pic-call'.

> The soundbite I will share with you if you contact me, recorded by Taylor Brooks at a N. Seattle site one early July morning in 2009, when the fledglings were starting to branch in preparation for the moments of their first flights, primarily features the kee-kee-kee-kee begging calls. But there is one chitter, too, plus the complaints of a few crows, the Merlins' adversaries during much of the nesting season. Yes, these birds can be loud and a tad irritating when they shriek on for a long spell, but most people in neighborhoods where Merlins nest, end up enjoying the whole process and like to watch them when a few birders share scope views from nearby. [As the mp3 soundbite was not accepted to be a part of this email post, email me and I'll send it to you].


> So, if you hear this sound somewhere, between now and early August, look for a Merlin or 2, note the location (GPS coord. or street address, nearest intersection, the town or neighborhood), and contact either me and/or the people doing the banding study (Kim McCormick and Ben Vang-Johnson - contact info on the WOS.org website under "research"). And, if you can see the legs of the Merlin(s), look for legbands. All of us will appreciate your efforts.

> Enjoy our suburbanizing raptors.


> Barb Deihl

> Matthews Beach Neighborhood - NE Seattle

> barbdeihl at ccomcast.net



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