The Merlin falcons we talked about in a January 12, 2010 post are winding down this year’s breeding season. That’s right; they came back again this year – the third year in a row! They chose a crow’s nest in a fir tree a block away from last year’s nest. The nest was harder to see this time, so the bird watching activities only picked up when the babies started to leave the nest. Again there were five babies – Thor and Spike have had five babies each year! Since the babies are flying farther and farther afield now, you may chance across one bathing in your birdbath (or an upside down garbage can lid), or taking a dust bath by the side of the road. Or perhaps you’ll look up and notice a noisy little falcon perched in the top of a tree, especially if the top is dead, or sunning on a south-facing roof. Keep your eyes peeled!
Last week we had two Merlin media events. A Seattle Times photographer came out one evening and got some great shots that were in the Times on July 22nd. You can see the six photos here. There was also a radio spot on KBCS the same day. You can hear radio host Martha Baskin interview several experts and some neighbors on Green Acre Radio here. She spent several hours at the site chatting with neighbors and bird watchers as they sat out in the evening, like they have been doing many nights this summer.
Once again I want to stress the benefit of having these little birds in our neighborhood. Year after year they are binding neighbors together in a fun activity, and giving us an excuse to sit outside and socialize. Neighborhoods whose residents know and care for each other are safer neighborhoods. The birds are also ambassadors to the natural world. Many neighbors out strolling have stopped, looked and learned about Merlins. And they have learned about the importance of our fir trees. We’re very lucky to have so many tall trees in our neighborhood. We need to preserve them, both to provide wildlife habitat and to protect the special character of our area.