[CT Birds] A Question About Merlins

Steve Mayo and Rebecca Horowitz rsdmayo at sbcglobal.net
Sat Oct 20 19:52:53 EDT 2012


I checked the Raptor Population Index charts for Lighthouse Point Park and was disappointed to see that the Merlin (ML) chart was not available.  However, over at HawkCount monthly summaries, a quick look at this year and "Previous Season Comparison" indicated not much change for ML.  Other than huge numbers (1000) during those couple of glorious early 1990s years, we've been seeing them in the 200-600 range each Fall season.  Again at Hawkcount, Quaker Ridge is showing a slight up-tick (100+ vs 60+) over the past 5 or 10 seasons.  A quick check over at ML-Central (Fire Island) shows only the past decade, and they've been statistically steady at 1000+ per season.  

So based on this relatively small (I'm not joking) sample (3 sites in or near CT, tens of thousands of observation hours, decades of data), I'm not seeing anything real special for an increase in autumnal MLs.  

I'd be MUCH more interested in hearing if people are seeing Merlins more in July, rather than October.  In July of 2011, I found a freshly killed "Blue Jack" male on Rte 42 near Beacon Cap in Bethany.  I don't think I've ever had ML in May-July, in CT, before or after.  

The first one to find a ML nest in CT gets a prize!  

Steve Mayo

 From: Joseph Budrow <jbudrow at sbcglobal.net>
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org 
Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2012 6:29 PM
Subject: [CT Birds] A Question About Merlins
I was checking out Madison's Bauer Park for the first time and spotted a female merlin atop a tall conifer. I seem to be seeing merlins much more this decade than in the past. Weren't they once much more uncommon? Do annual bird counts show their sightings going up?
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