Tag Archives: Frankenfelde

Winter visitors: the Merlin

Progress is slow on the little-traveled pothole road. Lucky, because just 100 meters in front of me, a bird flies into an apple tree with a raptor-like flight. This is a winter habitat for the Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor), which can be seen here in the south of Brandenburg in some years for the 4 – 5 winter months. But this one is different, darker and also a little bigger. It is a male of the Merlin (Falco columbarius), a fast hunter from the Far North.

So far I had seen the Merlin in autumn in the intensively arable Niederen Fläming, also in southern Brandenburg. in one case a female Merlin that I was able to photograph with a captured Sky Lark (Alauda arvensis) in the catch flying deep over the field.

In some years the Merlin can be observed quite well and regularly. In many other years, the little bird of prey, which comes from the far north and sometimes spends the winter with us, or also crosses into the Mediterranean region, is only a fleeting sighting.

When determining the Merlin, increased attention is required. It is important that other falcon species, but also smaller birds of prey with similar hunting behavior (especially the Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)) can be excluded. Merlins hunt mainly in open landscapes. This can be heathlands, moors, dune areas, but also over harvested fields and plowed fields. One can get the impression: the clearer the landscape, the more advantageous for the Continue reading Winter visitors: the Merlin