MER­LIN

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your Birding Month -

Though a breed­ing bird of up­lands in this coun­try (which largely means the north and west), th­ese small, speedy fal­cons dis­perse in win­ter, hit­ting the low­lands of the south and east, es­pe­cially near the coast. The Bri­tish pop­u­la­tion is boosted by birds from Ice­land mi­grat­ing to our rel­a­tively mild is­lands. Mer­lins are small and, for fal­cons, rel­a­tively short-winged and short-tailed, al­most like very small Pere­grines in shape. They are dash­ing and ag­ile, pur­su­ing passer­ines with twist and turns and pure speed. Only adult males are blue, and golden be­low, while ju­ve­niles and adult fe­males are dull brown, with pale su­per­cilia (‘eye­brows’).

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