Merlins Nest in Pittsburgh! | Exterior My Window


Grownup feminine merlin at Chatham College, Pittsburgh, 21 July 2022 (picture by Malcolm Kurtz)

24 July 2022

Because the winter of 2016-2017 many people have visited Schenley Park golf course at nightfall from late December to late February to look at one to 3 merlins are available in to roost.

Merlins (Falco columbarius) are small quick falcons in regards to the measurement of pigeons, although pigeons outweigh them. Like their peregrine cousins, merlins declined due to DDT and their inhabitants retracted into Canada’s boreal forest. After DDT was outlawed, they recovered slowly and in 1995-2014 started to take up residence additional south. Some started nesting in cities and cities.

This yr it was Pittsburgh’s flip. On 18 March 2022 Malcolm Kurtz noticed and heard two merlins vocalizing at Chatham College as in the event that they meant to nest. Would they? Unlikely. Most japanese merlins nest in Canada. They’d by no means nested in Allegheny County.

4 months afterward 18 July Malcolm noticed proof that they’d raised a household — a juvenile with dad and mom at Chatham.

Yay! Merlins are nesting in Pittsburgh!

Merlin household at Chatham College, juvenile within the heart, 21 July 2022 (picture by Malcolm Kurtz)

Why Chatham?

Birds of the World, Merlin account explains: “Merlins don’t construct a nest and make few if any modifications to an outdated corvid or hawk nest. In cities, they nest in conifers in residential areas, faculty yards, parks, and cemeteries. Excessive availability of protected nesting websites (corvid nests in spruces) and excessive prey abundance (home sparrows) look like two most important causes for city populations of merlins.”

Sure, I’ve seen loads of home sparrows within the merlins’ territory.

Merlin household at Chatham College, juvenile within the heart, 21 July 2022 (picture by Malcolm Kurtz)

How lengthy will the juvenile merlin grasp round?

Once more from Birds of the World, Merlin account, “Fledglings stay dependent upon adults and stay close to nest websites for 1 to 4 weeks. They typically hunt for dragonflies, that are considerable in July and August and should half-heartedly chase potential prey species or pigeons.”

Will the Chatham merlins be again subsequent yr? Maybe close by however not in the identical nest. Merlins hardly ever use the identical nest in two consecutive years. 

Look ahead to Malcolm Kurtz’s article in regards to the merlins in an upcoming difficulty of Three Rivers Birding Membership’s e-newsletter, The Peregrine. Try his pictures on Instagram.

(pictures by Malcolm Kurtz)


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