merlin



merlin defined in 1930 year

merlin - Merlin;
merlin - Upper parts greyish blue; under parts reddish yellow with longitudinal dark brown spots; tail barred with black; beak bluish, darker at the tip; cere yellow; iris dark brown; feet yellow; claws black. Female: upper parts tinged with brown-; lower parts yellowish white. Length, eleven to twelve inches.

The merlin is a third less than the peregrine in size, and has the distinction of being the smallest of the British birds of prey, But in courage it is second to none, and Yarrell relates an instance in which this small bird, weighing itself no more than six ounces, struck down and killed a partridge twice as heavy. It is a resident throughout the year of the British Islands, from the north of Yorkshire to the Shetlands, and the mountainous parts of Ireland.

The merlin is an inhabitant of the moors and mountains, and nests on the ground among the tall heather. The eggs are laid in a slight hollow with little or no lining, and are four or five in number, smaller than those of the kestrel, but similar in colour. It sometimes, but very rarely, breeds in the nest of a carrion crow or other bird, in a tree.

It preys chiefly on small birds, and it was formerly trained to pursue snipe, pigeons, larks, blackbirds, &c.

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