Merlins sighted at Echo Lake

Monday, August 9, 2010

Photo by Tom Downer
Posted at Of Paramount Importance  "This season, rare visitors to the Seattle area were sighted at Echo Lake in Shoreline and the Pinehurst Neighborhood in North Seattle. Merlins have been documented in both areas this year, and it is considered an exciting and rare urban wildlife sighting here by the birding community.  Merlins are raptors, a type of small falcon which utilize tall trees for their nesting and habitat."
Photo by Tom Downer

Thanks to SAN reader Tom Downer for these photos of the Merlins at Echo Lake.

Tom says, "These photos were taken on July 10 at 189th and Wallingford.  It appears they have left the Echo Lake neighborhood.  I last saw them on August 4th at Shoreline Park (just north of the Shoreline Center and Shoreline Pool)."

Audubon member Barbara Deihl says "Tom Downer's two shots are of the adult parents - the one facing us in both shots is the female. The male has brought her prey, which you can see in his 2nd shot."

Cooper's Hawk. Photo by Melissa Carrera
Barbara says that Melissa Carrera's bird is is an immature Cooper's Hawk or Sharp-shinned Hawk juvenile - often mistaken for Merlins.  Melissa's photo was taken in March of this year at NE 185th and 3rd Ave. She says "We have seen it 5 or 6 times since December, as recently as Sunday, August 8th."

If anyone has photos of the Echo Lake Merlins, cormorants, or eagles, please send to

We are also interested in other wildlife, such as beavers, turtles, frogs, raccoons, opossums, rats, mice, squirrels, chipmunks.


Barbara Deihl,  August 29, 2010 at 11:23 PM  

Here's a correction on my adjusted information added to this article: there is only ONE Merlin in each of Tom's photos (I must have been seeing things before!) - the bird in each photo is indeed the female parent and the prey bird was most likely brought to her by the male, as it was the time in the breeding cycle that males do this. The female will either eat the prey herself or take it to the fledglings and parcel it out or let them work on it themselves. As I didn't see this happen, it is only an assumption I am making. Nice shots, both Tom & Melissa !

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