Raptor Population Index

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Species Assessment:
Merlin (Falco columbarius)

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The 10-year migration count trends for the Merlin suggests mostly stable populations across North America with 77% of 65 total sites showing statistically significant stable counts during this span. Regionally, 25% of 8 count sites observed declines with 12% showing increases in the West Region. In the Gulf Region, 50% of sites have reported an increase in observations (see pie charts and trend maps below). The 20-year count trends (not shown) reflect a mostly stable population with some notable increases in the West Region while some decreases were observed in other regions over this span (Central Region: 1 decrease, 1 stable; East Region: 17 stable, 3 increase, 1 decrease; Gulf Region: 2 stable, 1 increase, 1 decrease; West Region: 3 stable, 3 increase). The highest counts of Merlins were observed in Cardel, Veracruz with the fall average count being 3,182 individuals.

Winter survey data from the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) suggest increasing 10-year trends continent-wide with the annual percent change in population reported to be an increase of almost 3%. The Merlin is a species of Least Concern globally and has been observed to adapt well to human presence in both urban and suburban landscapes. Merlin are likely most affected by loss of suitable habitat due to deforestation and agricultural practices such as cutting and burning of vegetation in the Great Plains.

Merlin<br>Photo by Bill Moses

Photo by Bill Moses

Please cite this page as:
    D. Oleyar, D. Ethier, L. Goodrich, D. Brandes, R. Smith, J. Brown, and J. Sodergren. 2021. The Raptor Population Index: 2019 Analyses and Assessments.