I have an interest in trying to trap a Merlin (Falco columbarius) for this upcoming falconry season. I'm not letting it be a driving interest, as in seeking out a trapping location up in Duluth, or driving out west for a couple weeks, but a mild interest. I'm trying to secure a location along the bluffs next to the Mississippi River to set up a trapping station, for both Red Tailed hawks, but also Merlins could be caught on migration. I've been seeking out information to assist in identifying this middle-sized falcon. Knowing that the bird in my hand is a Merlin is not a problem. Knowing what sex it is, a little harder, but do-able. Knowing if it is a juvenile . . . there is the problem! Juvenile and Adult Female Merlins are very closely feathered. I've found some resources . . . now I just need to arrange to put myself where I could possibly catch one. After some effort, if I am unsuccessful at catching a passage Merlin, I'll go for a kestrel. I feel fairly comfortable in my ability to sex these smallest of falcons.
Here are a couple really nice video links I found while searching for information. Those who love raptors . . . and that pretty much includes just about anyone that comes to this blog . . . will appreciate these very well made natural observations of Merlins.
Brown pelicans at Fisherman Island
2 hours ago