What are merlins’ nesting habits?
Nesting in Merlin’s depends on location. In the UK, Merlin’s nest on the ground using heather and bushes as cover. They are assembled by the female who collects small sticks, bits of heather and bracken. In the rest of Europe, Canada, and the US the Merlin uses abandoned nests from birds such as the crow. They prefer nests where they have a large range of vision. If taking over another nest is not possible, nesting on cliff edges or open ground is common. Merlins like to nest at least 1km from other pairs. The female remains near to the nest and stands guards as well as doing most of the parental duties. The female usually lays 3-5 eggs in May and June. They are a sandy color with red-brown freckles. The male invests more energy into the offspring than the female, doing all the hunting for himself, the female and the hatchlings until they can fly. Merlins are monogamous for a year and they tend to find a new mate. Incubation occurs for around 30 days and can be done by either sex but mostly done by the female. Females breed one year after birth as this is when they have sexually matured but it takes twice as long for the males to mature and start to breed because of the energy input the males provide during incubation.