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Merlin on a wire. Photo by K Clouston

I have been trying to get a good picture of these pesky little falcons for months now and finally succeeded.  Several months ago I saw one or two, sometimes three sitting at the very top of one of the large fir trees in the neighbourhood and tried to photograph them at maximum zoom freehand, which didn’t work too well as the shots were very blurry, then braced on a handy tree or post, which worked better but were still not great shots because of the distance (mature fir trees are taaall).  They seemed then to be very noisy birds and then they went silent for quite a while and I wondered if they might have moved out of the area.  Recently, they have been noisier than ever and the one or two has increased to five so I guess they were busy nesting and now they are teaching their three ‘kids’ to fly.  Then they will probably move on to how to catch birds and other flying food.  I saw one this morning glide off the wire, do a quick dip in flight and then the dragonfly that was in the vicinity was no longer there.  Talk about effortless and efficient!  According to the Birds of BC book that I consulted, they are considered rare breeding residents in most areas but if you look carefully (listening works better in my area) they can be found in several places in the Comox Valley.

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