This fellow looked a little grumpy when we first met him. But that’s because he was prematurely bumped out of the nest by his larger siblings, and he had tumbled some 60 feet to the ground. Fortunately, he was able to slow his fall enough with his still-developing flight feathers to avoid serious injury. But a city street is not a safe place for a young Merlin not yet able to fly, so one of the bird’s concerned human neighbors snatched him up and brought him to PAWS.
That’s exactly what we did with the nestling Merlin. After spending ten days at the wildlife center, he had lost most of his remaining down, and his flight feathers were nearly full grown. His siblings at the nest had gone through a similar transformation, and they were beginning to make short flights around the neighborhood. It was now possible to reunite our patient with his family simply by returning him to the neighborhood, rather than the nest. On July 3, I placed the fledgling on the roof of a two story building within view of the nest site.