This poor, little raptor was as caught off guard at the strength of a recent snowstorm as I was. What was supposed to amount to little more than a dusting turned into a pretty decent little storm with a good dose of wind to go with the snow.
The falcon was hanging on tight to a mullein plant, right near the road and with intention of trying to fly in the storm. This gave me a nice photo op, the best chance for pics of a merlin I have had this season yet. As snow began caking its windward side, the raptor kept its head turned, away from the onslaught of Mother Nature.
Merlins are common across much of North America, particularly during the winter months. They are quite ferocious, known for their surprise attacks on smaller, unsuspecting birds. In medieval times, they were a favorite of falconers, particularly noblewomen, that called them “lady hawks.”