Tag Archives: Smyrill

The predator and its prey

Smyrill – Merlin – Falco columbarius

Now is the time for the Merlin to prepare for the flight to its winter grounds in the UK. It is also migration time for the smaller birds and the Merlin is hunting for food to save up energy for the journey. They can now be seen hunting in heaths and marshlands.

The Merlin is the most common predatory bird in Iceland. It is mostly a migrator with only a small part of the stock remaining here during winter.

Þúfutittlingur – Meadow Pipit – Anthus pratensis

The Meadow Pipit is probably the most important food source but all small birds are also on the menu e.g. Snow Buntings, Redwings, Starlings and even birds as big as the Golden Plover.

Merlin lady always on the lookout

Smyrill – Merlin – Falco columbarius

This Merlin lady is a daily guest in the garden. She preys on the small birds and tries to catch them unawares. The Redpolls are her favourites but she also makes do with Snow Buntings and Starlings.

Auðnutittlingur – Redpoll – Carduelis flammea

There were around 50 Redpolls here today. These photoes are taken in the garden, February 26.

Hungry birds of prey

In the past few weeks three Merlins have been daily guests in the garden. We have also had a Sparrowhawk visiting occasionally. All these birds of prey have caused havoc in the garden and sometimes the smaller birds stay away for several hours.

Smyrill – Merlin – Falco columbarius

This male Merlin posed for the camera today after having dined on a Redpoll.

The agility of the Merlin

The Merlin is the most common predatory bird in Iceland. They prey on small birds, mostly feeding on Meadow Pipits and Snow Buntings. Sometimes they even manage to catch Starlings and Redwings.

Smyrill – Merlin – Falco columbarius (female)

Most of them are migrating birds and go to West Europe for the winter. There are always some that overwinter here and they follow the flocks of Snow Buntings that come into towns for food in the winter time.

Smyrill – Merlin – Falco columbarius (male)

In the last few days they have been daily visitors in the garden, both males and females. Although it is always sad to see them catch their prey, one can not but admire them for their agility and beauty when they fly low between the tree trunks.

Smyrill – Merlin – Falco columbarius