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Possible Merlin Nesting 'Unprecedented'

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Merlins, a small falcon species that normally nests in Canada, may have set up shop in northern Indiana. Brad Bumgardner, president of the Indiana Audubon Society, says it's “unprecedented,” adding there is no breeding anywhere within 150 to 200 miles of Pokagon State Park, where the birds were identified last week. Bumgardner is also park interpreter at Indiana Dunes State Park and worked previously at Pokagon. Bumgardner says they tend to follow shore birds and are seen often at the Dunes in the winter, but never in the summertime. A nest site has not been confirmed, but if one is, it would be a first for the state. “It would be the first nesting record of merlins in Indiana,” said John Castrale, a DNR biologist specializing in raptors. “It’s kind of a big deal.” Bumgardner said the Michigan Breeding Bird Atlas notes only three or four merlin nesting sites in the lower peninsula of Michigan.
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