Monday, December 14, 2009

Wherein a merlin gives me the hairy eyeball

A few photos of this lovely lady are the only photos I took in New Hampshire. It was a 9-hour drive north, followed by a morning-to-night meeting on Saturday, followed by a 13 hour, freezing rain-delayed trip home.

The only birding I got done was when two flocks of wild turkeys blocked the mountain road I was on. They stood there looking at the car before hopping over a snow bank and disappearing into the woods. So my hope of a week’s worth of New Hampshire photos to post on the blog did not materialize.

I should probably say a few words about this lovely lady. She is a 12-year old merlin, an education bird at Squam Lakes Nature Center in Holderness, NH. An injury to her left wing keeps her from flying more than a few flaps.

I was impressed by her for a couple of reasons. The first is simply her age. It’s amazing to me how long a wild bird or animal can live in captivity compared to their life in the wild. The other thing about her that is especially impressive is how calm she is. Of course, that’s what an education bird is supposed to be, but merlins are notoriously, um, not calm. This bird was absolutely the calmest merlin I’ve ever seen. She sat calmly and seemed content, where people were peering at her or while she was being carried.


The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

A calm merlin? Never imagined such a creature—but she's indeed lovely. The peace and serenity of age.

Woodswoman Extraordinaire: said...

Great title for that post! It sure does look like she's sizing you up.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

It sounds like an exhausting weekend- especially that return drive. The merlin is beautiful. I've really only gotten good looks at education birds,only quick glimpses in the wild.

Woodswalker said...

Beautiful bird! What a riveting gaze!

Glad you made it home safe.

Deb said...

She is beautiful!

Carolyn H said...

Griz: She's the only calm merlin I've ever seen, very much a well-behaved lady.

Woodswoman: I don't think she liked my camera, even though I didn't use a flash, of course,

Lynne: I could oh-so-easily have done without the drama of the drive home. I made it safe and sound, but easily saw 30 accidents NE of NYC. All the interstates were shut down at one point.

Woodswalker: I'm relieved to have made it home okay, that's for sure.

Deb: She was even prettier up close.

Carolyn H.

squirrel said...

WOW. Did you get to touch her?
Nice photo.