History in the Making: Nesting Merlins in Black Hawk County!
One of the adult Merlins perched near the nest in Black Hawk County; photo by Tom Schilke.
PRAS President Tom Schilke has confirmed that Merlins are nesting in Waterloo, Iowa this summer. PRAS member Linda Johnson first reported this nest, which is located in a large white pine tree. The exact location of the nest was emailed to the PRAS member email list. If you want to know the location, but you are not on our mail list, please email candace69001@gmail.com. If you do visit the nest site, please be respectful of the neighborhood home owners.

We believe that the young have hatched based on the activity and sounds on the nest. Adults have been observed bringing food to the nest, but the chicks have not been seen yet. The adults can be seen perched at the top of tall conifers or on locust trees near the nest site. A nest was reported in Iowa City this spring but Merlins may have hatched first! These small falcons have not nested in Iowa since 1908 but Black Hawk and Johnson counties now have confirmed nesting pairs of Merlins this year. This is very exciting news.

Merlins are small, fierce falcons that use surprise attacks to bring down small songbirds and shorebirds. They are powerful fliers, but you can tell them from larger falcons by their rapid wingbeats and overall dark tones. Medieval falconers called them “lady hawks,” and noblewomen used them to hunt Sky Larks. Merlin populations have largely recovered from twentieth-century declines, thanks to a ban on the pesticide DDT and their ability to adapt to life around towns and cities. -- Information provided on the website All About Birds.


Bird-A-Thon 2016 - Have you sent your tax deductible pledge yet? 
We saw a record breaking 218 species during Bird-A-Thon week! Have you made your tax-deductible pledge yet?  Click here to get a print-friendly PDF of the 2016 Bird-A-Thon pledge form. Make check(s) payable to Prairie Rapids Audubon Society and indicate Birdathon on the check. Please mail your pledge and/or contribution to: Craig Rash 105 Woodland Springs Road Denver, Iowa  50622