Merlin, 2.5″ wide by 3.75″ high

A Merlin is a kind of Falcon which gives it doubly the coolest bird names out there. It’s quite small and flies very fast and low to the ground while hunting, which is when I saw this one. They hunt small birds and can catch dragonflies out of the air which blows my mind. So it’s reputation certainly backs up it’s name(s) as one of the coolest birds around.

When I took this photo I was actually hiking down off a mountain later in the afternoon, I’d gone up to photograph migrating raptors and then packed up my camera to return to the car. I wasn’t expecting to see more birds as it was getting late in the day for migration but this little Merlin was hanging around looking for a snack and zooming back and forth right in front of me, so needless to say, out came the camera. It’s a really stunning bird to watch as it hunts, the way it twists and turns and dives.

The lighting wasn’t amazing and it was just moving so fast, so it was a struggle to get a decent photo. In the drawing I did my best to pull the details out, and was especially struck by the way the slight difference in the angle of the wings led to variations in the visible patterns and in the way the light passes through the thin edges of the wing.

* My Bird Sticker project is supported in part by the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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