Borough of Raptors II

Falco columbariusA Merlin (Falco columbarius) was perched over the Long Meadow on Sunday.Falco columbariusToo bad the light was so gray, since, true to form, the bird was there a long time.Falco columbariusThis bird seems much more heavily streaked and russet-tinged than the Green-Wood Merlin I photographed on a nice sunny day in November.
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The thing about raptors is that you never know when and where they will be spotted. Since the New Year began, my Brooklyn raptor sightings have been:

Jan. 1: Peregrine zooming down 39th St at 1st Avenue (after the Ravens had departed).
Jan. 3: Red-tailed Hawk circling over the Gowanus.
Jan. 4: This Merlin; a Red-tailed Hawk coasting over the Long Meadow; and two Cooper’s Hawks, one flying towards Green-Wood, the other in my neighborhood.

5 Responses to “Borough of Raptors II”


  1. 1 Katie (Nature ID) January 7, 2015 at 7:15 am

    What do you think all these raptors are eating in the middle of winter in Brooklyn?

    • 2 mthew January 7, 2015 at 8:40 am

      Merlins generally eat birds, as well as large insects, bats and other small mammals, and with the last three all in short supply this time of year, they concentrate on birds. They hunt small-to-medium sized birds from below or horizontally (unlike the larger falcon kin, the Peregrine, who comes from above): House sparrows, Waxwings, Dunlin, some of the examples I found listed. Red-tails mostly go for larger mammals like squirrels & rats but wouldn’t turn down a pigeon (the rats are problematic because they are poisoned here, and that poison spreads to the raptor). Cooper’s are bird-eaters, which is why people with feeding stations often see them: the concentration of songbirds feeding makes them obvious targets.

  2. 3 Katie (Nature ID) January 7, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks for this. It hadn’t occurred to me how much birds are a big part of their diet. It seems weird somehow for birds, but fish eat fish and mammals eat mammals.


  1. 1 A Month of Raptors | Backyard and Beyond Trackback on February 1, 2015 at 8:07 am

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