I wanted to write a post about this amazing falcon I read about in my bird book, The Merlin : Falco columbarius. Once upon a time, these 9 to 13 inch-tall birds were the most popular trained hunting bird in Europe. Why?
"Birds of prey are specialists. Some hunt from perches; others search for victims while soaring overhead. Falcons, in turn, have been specially crafted for expertise at intercepting prey in open flight. And, ounce for ounce, few can rival the spunky little Merlin, so swift and agile that it can outmanuver even such masters of flight as dragonflies and tree swallows"- (RDBNAB, pg. 33)
Their diet is full of other, smaller birds, swooped and nommed right out of the air. I was dying to see a video of this winged sorcerer, but there is a definite shortage of videos of Merlin in flight on the internet. The closest I could find to a demonstration of skill was in a video series titled "The Merlinologist", brought to you by the Merlin Falcon Foundation. In it, falcon expert David Drummond discusses his organization, and demonstrates his absolute devotion to nature and birds of prey.
Watching parts 2-5 is recommended for maximum bird viewage and naturalist awesomeness. It seems like an amazing organization!
The other merlin related video of note I found is here:
I was not expecting a proselytizing raptor bird!
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