Merlins are small raptors, a bit bigger than a Kestrel, and are just as ferocious as the other members of the falcon family. They prefer to dine on other, smaller birds, attacking with extraordinary speed and ferocity.
This particular female Merlin is the first I have seen this season and was spotted near Denver International Airport. I almost drove right by it, initially dismissing it as a dove or some other common bird. I’m glad I took a second look!
It was kind enough to sit long enough for me to grab a few poses before it headed off elsewhere. Certainly I would have preferred a more natural perch but out here on the plains, trees are sometimes few and far between so utility poles are where you find many raptors.