Here we have another Merlin success story, this time the ringing of the 5 chicks that were located on Westerdale Moor at the end of May. The Merlin is the U.K.’s smallest bird of prey and there are only 900 to 1500 breeding pairs in the U.K. but the North Yorkshire Moors can proudly say that Merlin numbers in this area are looking good.
Today Wilf from The Natural England Merlin group of volunteers came out to Westerdale and successfully ringed the 5 Merlin chicks, the ringing process includes measuring, weighing and sexing the chicks, this is done because the Merlin is an endangered species and therefore it is essential to try and gather as much information on them as possible. There were 4 hen birds and 1 cock bird, which hopefully should increase the chances of further breeding and to help secure the future of these birds in this area.
Todays visit by Natural England was their second visit to the nest, it was first inspected at the end of May where it was confirmed that the chicks were there. Strict licenses are given by Natural England to try and keep disturbance to the Merlin nests to an absolute minimum and this is because of their Red Status (highest conservation priority).
Years of study and careful management by the moor owners and their keepers makes the North Yorkshire Moors an extremely important place for the Merlins to live and this is a real positive for the area as the numbers here are fairly stable.