Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tom's Sighting #1

People may say that they 'like birds' but almost all people like raptors.  What's even better than just any old hawk (other people's opinion not mine)?  A falcon!  Here in Connecticut we have three regular falcon species.  Peregrine Falcon is the largest and can be found nesting on cliff edges like West Rock and Sleeping Giant.  In some cities the birds can even be found nesting on building ledges; in fact the Peabody Museum is trying to encourage a pair to nest on Klein Biology Tower.  American Kestrel is the smallest falcon found in Connecticut.  This grassland specialist is found throughout the migration periods and breeds in select locations.  Habitat loss is having a major impact on the breeding population.  Kestrels feed on small prey; one of their favorite is dragonflies!

The third species of falcon is just a bit larger than a kestrel and is a migratory and winter species in the state.  It's a Merlin!  Last Friday Tom, from the Peabody's West Campus Education Center, was lucky enough to have this falcon land long enough to grab this snapshot.  Merlins specialize on small birds and rodents but won't pass up an opportunity to eat a dragonfly snack either.  Keep your eyes open because at this time of year we might have any one of the three falcons on campus.  

MERLIN:  picture taken by Tom P. 17 Oct 2014

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