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New Merlin Records!

October 18, 2018

On Sunday (10/14/18), we set the single-day record for Merlins with 110. Only three days later, we broke the seasonal max record! We had exactly 900 Merlins heading into Wednesday and needed only nine to top the previous season high of 908 from 2014. The record-breaking bird came through at 11:24 am (10/17/18) and, like many others of its species, was gone in a matter of seconds. With two weeks remaining in the season, we should continue to add on to the new record. The goal now is to get to 1,000!

Merlin #909 going by in a blur (L) and another taking a break on a snag (R). Photos by Chris Payne (L) and Luis Gles (R).

While it has undoubtedly been a good year for Merlins, a portion of the high count can be attributed to improved visibility as a result of Hurricane Irma. Merlins are low-flying migrants that like to hunt through the treetops as they fly south. Prior to 2017, the trees to the northwest of the Hawkwatch platform were getting very tall and obstructing the view. As a result, many Merlins could have easily snuck by undetected. Hopefully the upcoming years will continue to produce high counts of this feisty falcon.

Luis Gles updating the Merlin numbers to include this year’s records.

Latest Data HawkCount

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