Merlin casts pellet

Merlin Falcon

Merlin Falcon

Early this morning a Merlin showed up in the yard. I thought the Merlin was eating something when I was photographing her, but after I downloaded the photos, I saw what looked like a “pellet” in the Merlin’s mouth. I think the Merlin might be a female or an immature as the male has a slate blue back and this bird was quite brown.

Merlin coughing up a pellet

Merlin coughing up a pellet

She looked like she was choking…

Merlin expelling pellet

Merlin expelling pellet

 Then, the pellet came flying through the air! 

Per Birds of North America On Line, pellets typically cast daily (early morning) representing feather and skeletal remains from previous day.

Merlin Falcon

Merlin Falcon

I imagine she feels a lot better after expelling that big hunk of waste from her crop.

Merlin

Merlin

Okay, now onto the next bird, and with that she took off after one of the Hairy Woodpeckers that frequent the peanut feeders in the yard.

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5 Responses to Merlin casts pellet

  1. Yipes! This is such a neat series of photos! I’ve never even seen a Merlin in the wild. Amazing timing for you to witness this. Thanks for sharing.

    I just scrolled throught these pix yet again and noticed the bird is sitting in a birch snag. I have to say that up at Hasty Brook- all of my best bird sightings have been in a birch snag. After our fire last year the DNR firmly “suggested” we remove the birch snags because of the fire hazzard. We have yet to do it. It’s my favorite bird perch!

  2. Gracie says:

    Reminds me why I quit smoking! Great photos – great commentary!

  3. Marsha Burkhardt says:

    What a beautiful bird, even when it finds the woodpeckers tasty!

  4. MarciaB says:

    Wow! what a great series of images. I’ve found and picked through owl pellets, but have never seen one from any other bird. And have never been lucky enough to see a bird throwing one, much less have my camera ready. Thank you for sharing!!

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