Spotlight On Ohio Birds

Merlin ( Falco columbarius)

Family: Falconidae

Order: Falconiformes

Description: 10 – 14″ (25-36 cm) ADULT MALE Has blue-gray upperparts and buffy, streaked, and spotted underparts. In flight, and from above, blue-gray back, inner wings, and tail contrast with dark wingtips and dark terminal band on tail. ADULT FEMALE Has brown upperparts and pale underparts with large, brown spots. In flight, from above, upperparts are rather uniform brown with numerous faint bars on wings and tail; from below, body is streaked, while tail is distinctly barred. JUVENILE Similar to adult counterparts.

Voice: Mainly silent although a shrill kee-kee-kee is uttered in alarm.

Habitat: Widespread and fairly common in open country. In region covered by this book mainly a summer visitor to Canada (present mostly May-Aug) and winter visitor to U.S.; widespread in winter in west, but in east mainly associated with coastal and southern states.

Nesting: Clutch size is 1-8 eggs that are rusty brown with brownish or chestnut marking.


FYI’s: The Merlin does not build a nest, but instead takes over old nests of other raptors or crows. It sometimes nests on top of domed magpie nests rather than in the nest cavity.


One response to “Spotlight On Ohio Birds

  1. In 2011 we had a nesting pair in the U.P. in the yard next door….guy on the other side hated it because he had no song birds coming to his feeder all spring…hahaha

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