Assateague Island National Seashore
Assateague Island information guide

The Merlin is an aggressive falcon that feeds along Assateague Island for songbirds and other prey. This raptor will sometimes birdwatch from a high tree and then ambush its quarry. The Merlin often approaches it's prey through disguising itself by imitating the flight characteristics of a pigeon or woodpecker.

An adult Merlin has a wingspread of 23"and is slightly larger than its cousin the American Kestrel. They have been known to use a tree cavity for nesting (like a Kestrel) or take over an abandoned nest. A female Merlin lays 3-5 rust colored eggs that have brown spots. The Merlin is very territorial and will harass other raptors that trespass even if the other bird of prey is much larger in size.

(Falco columbarius )

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