MERLINS AT THE NEST
Falco columbarius Falcons are among my favorite subjects, particularly the two smallest of the species, the kestrel and the merlin. I enjoy their acrobatic flight and the elegant form of their pointed wings. On the whole, falcons are good parents, and I’ve tried to capture this in my painting where I have shown a father merlin caring for the chicks. Also known as pigeon hawks, merlins are talented hunters, flying low over the ground with steady wing beats, catching birds of their own size such as pigeons and small ducks as well as rodents and insects. It is a delight to watch them snatch large flying insects midair. Merlins nest in most of the Northwest and from the northern parts of Minnesota and Maine up to the Maritime Provinces. To give the scene an intercontinental character, I chose to depict the nest in a Scotch pine, which is found throughout a large part of the United States and Canada.