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First for Me

First for Me
Photo Information
Copyright: Rick Price (Adanac) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-03-17
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 40D, Canon 100-400/4.5-5.6L IS
Exposure: f/8, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds of Prey- RAPTORS (III), CeltickRanger's favorite Bird of Prey photos [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-03-17 17:54
Viewed: 4889
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 62
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This is the first time I have had a chance at a male Merlin. Today was quite overcast at the Cypress Hills but you take what your served up, so here it is. The great part of today was Lucy made the trip with me and we had a great time watching lots of deer and antelope. The snow in the hills is still 30-50 cm deep and when we left Medicine Hat there was no snow and it was 10c and 45 minutes later we were in the hills and it was 1c.

Falco columbarius
General Description

By Lee Sollenberger

The Merlin is an uncommon circumboreal falcon, breeding across Canada and northern USA, in Iceland and northern Eurasia. Formerly known in North America as the "Pigeon Hawk", it probably is still increasing in numbers, having been a victim of the pesticide DDT. In Alberta, two subspecies occur: the darker Taiga Merlin of the northern forest, and the very pale Richardson's Merlin of the grassland and aspen parkland. Between the two races, it ranges completely across the province in suitable habitat.

In the breeding season, northern birds prefer open forests. In the prairies, it usually nests in wooded valleys. In recent years, Merlins have increasingly taken to nesting in urban areas, mainly in maturing coniferous trees. While most individuals migrate, going as far south as northern South America, a considerable number regularly overwinter.

The Merlin's main food is small birds, mostly caught on the wing in high speed pursuit. In migration, this includes shorebirds. It also takes some small rodents and large insects. Wintering birds survive mainly on the introduced House Sparrow and visiting Bohemian Waxwings.

This small falcon does not construct its own nest, preferentially using old ones made by a crow, magpie or other large species in the northern woods such as a Sharp-shinned Hawk. It occasionally uses a cliff ledge, open tree cavity or when no other site is available, will nest on the ground. The four to six eggs are incubated mainly by the female for 28-32 days. She broods and feeds the young while the male does all the hunting. They fledge at 25-30 days but remain near the nest, becoming fully independent at about six weeks of age.

jaycee, eqshannon, ramthakur, Luis52, angela926, Mariol, CeltickRanger, smitha, earthtraveler, Jamesp, SelenE, fartash, maurydv, Tamrock, goldyrs, MMM, vanderschelden, gerbilratz, Evelynn, NinaM, dejo has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To ramthakur: Hello RamAdanac 1 03-17 20:00
To Luis52: HolaAdanac 1 03-17 19:55
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-03-17 18:10]

Hi Rick,

This Merlin looks like a pastel painting. Wonderful pose - lovely colors - nice details of the face, wings and plummage. You and Lucy must have had a wonderful day.


Ya bum.....that shot looks like you had time to think about all or you had everything set just right to start. What deal that was...dang...It is one I would send out to friends at least...super luck! I had some luck to day too and I was out doing video and caught some still just as a thing to do...and got lucky...seize ya tomorrow on that one..

Very fine capture of a Falcon sitting majestically on the stump of a tree, Rick.
Very good details, colors and composition.
Isn't the image a wee bit lighter?
I know that is nit-picking.
Thanks and regards.

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-03-17 19:09]
  • [+]

Hola Rick.
Fina foto de este Halcon. Muy bella la pose de exelente nitidez y claridad, por lo que se aprecian sus atributos. La mirada siempre atenta para capturar sus presas.

Hello rick
WOW! fantastic shot, congratulations on your first merlin, superb sharpness and excellent depth of field, beautiful natural colors and excelletn details, very nice composition and pov, wonderful pose and facial expression! Great capture!!

  • Great 
  • Mariol Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 160 W: 15 N: 1654] (8221)
  • [2008-03-17 20:20]

Hi Rick,
Nice picture of this Merlin, a bird I never saw in the wild.
Details and focus are perfect, colours probably a bit udersaturated but because of that the eye details are more visible. Well done.
Regards, Mario

hello Rick

after viewing this great shot of the Merlin, first thing i did
go and see what was the camera, and i saw that you have
a new camera, in your last posting i did'nt noticed,
congragulation to your new camera,

a great shot with excellent POV and vertical framing, and in the same
time with lovely softness of the composition and excellent sharpness
and details of the Merlin's plumage and the wood, TFS


  • Great 
  • smitha Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 348 W: 73 N: 1165] (4409)
  • [2008-03-17 21:10]

Hello Rick,
his is a beautiful icture and a first one for me too. I have never come across this majestic bird before.:)
Excellent sharpness and details in the plumage.
The POV and DOF are remarkable.
I liked the perch on the stub.
Exposure is spot on.
The background gives good contrasts and helps the bird to stand out in the frame. Despite the overcast sky you have manged to capture an excellent picture.
Thanks for the share,

Hi Rick, Super shot of this Merlin. The coloration detail is so pretty and it's wonderfully posed. Fine focus also.
Well done! Tfs Richard

  • Great 
  • Luca (539)
  • [2008-03-17 23:13]

Superbly! Great shot!


Very good, neat photo with a great composition.Congratulations and TFS!

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2008-03-17 23:50]

Hello Rick,

Congratulations for your 1st timer, great colors and composition


  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-03-17 23:53]

Hi Rick

A great shot - excellent composition and POV with nice colour and good detail. Well observed and captured.


  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-03-18 0:14]

Hello Rick,
I liked the soft colors a lot. Expression you captured, POV, composition and details are very nice. TFS

Hello Rick
Excellent shot of this male Merlin,
Great focusing ,exposure and POV,Welldone my friend.


Bellissima immagine, ottimi POV e composizione, molto buoni i dettagli, molto belli i colori morbidi ed ottima esposizione in condizioni di luce difficile. Complimenti per questa prima cattura. Ciao Maurizio

hi rick!
what a beauty!
good sharpness and fine composition
well done!

Hi Rick

Very good shot of the Merlin in poor conditions. Stunning sharpness and the bird stands out surprisingly well against the overcast background.
Well composed on the fence post.


Hello Rick,

Superb composition. Very nice pose of the bird. Good POV, DOF and great sharpness. Wonderful light and colours.
Very well done and congratulations!

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-03-18 4:08]

Hello Rick,
exceptional image of this Merlin!
You are so lucky to have got this close to such an elusive bird!
Razor-sharp with excellent detail.
I love the soft, shadow-less lighting.
Great composition.
Only thing I'd say is that the BG doesn't contrast too well with the pale coloured bird but that is not your fault by any means and it couldn't have been helped.
Another species to your already MASSIVE list!
Well done mate.



Despite light colored BG the bird is separable but still needs contrast, sharpness is great and the colors are quite natural.



  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2008-03-18 4:37]

Hi Rick
absolutely stunning shot, the composition is fabulous.
Love the colors, very well saturated yet a softness to them.
Excellent Details and textures makes this so wonderful to look at.
Congrats on this excellent shot.

I never even knew there was a bird call Merlin!So much for me and my little kowledge!!I love the details of this shot, it has perfect exposure, and the subject has been captured very beauifully!
Thanks you!
Warm regards,

Hi Rick,

Great pose for a wild bird. You may not choose the background like with ZOO pictures, so fault of yours. Excellent colours and very sharp and detailed.

Thanks for sharing


  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2008-03-18 11:14]

Hi Rick
Excellent closed up.Very nice pose from your subject and perfect focus.I like that beautiful details that we are seing from the front plumage.
TFS Michel

Hi Rick,
Probably the first for TrekNature as well:-)
Beautiful Merlin. Very good moment.

Hi Rick,
Beautiful image, quite a stunning pose this bird has, superb timing to get such a fine "classic" pose...great colours and very nice focus to the whole bird..TFS

  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2008-03-18 15:03]

Beautiful, Rick, looks like a watercolour because the colours are subdued and against the white background, it is sensational. I like the light in this picture, we see everything, the details on the plumage are great and beautiful. Audubon would have loved this one and me too!


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-03-19 13:09]

Hello Rick,
What an excellent clear photo of this Kestrel. Amazing colours. Sharpness, details and DOF are excellent. Also the composition, POV and pose.

  • Great 
  • Nilson Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 488 W: 0 N: 566] (4423)
  • [2008-03-20 10:09]

Linda foto, a nitidez em que ficou a ave ficou muitoboa mesmo, as cores so agradaveis e suaves. A claridade da foto esta excelente, h muita riqueza de detalhes capturado, principalmente nas asas da ave.

  • Great 
  • dejo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 344 W: 51 N: 520] (2242)
  • [2008-03-25 0:55]

Hello Rick,
Great shot of this beutiful bird!
great pose and fantastic clarity and details captured!

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