On Dec 3, 2014, Chillybean from Near Central, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:
We saw this bird last month perching near "our" female Kestrel, so we got a good size comparison. The Merlin is the larger of the two. This falcon will prey on small birds and its scientific name gives away what it commonly hunts... Columbidae are doves.
At the time of this last visit, the little birds did not seem bothered by the Merlin. All we could figure is that our regulars are accustomed to the Kestrel which has not persued them, so maybe felt safe with the similar shaped bird. ?? While we watched the Merlin it was not actively hunting and after a short period of time moved on.