The return of the merlin to the south pennines

This source preferred by Richard Stillman

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Authors: Brown, A.F. and Stillman, R.A.

Journal: Bird Study

Volume: 45

Issue: 3

Pages: 293-301

eISSN: 1944-6705

ISSN: 0006-3657

DOI: 10.1080/00063659809461100

This paper reports on the findings of a large number of people engaged in the study of the Merlin Falco columbarius population in the south Pennines. Between 1980 and 1992 the number of nesting areas found to be occupied by Merlin increased from two to 66, and the proportion of checked sites found to be occupied rose from 29 to 78%. The apparent increase in the size of the population was not solely a result of increased observer activity. The few occupied nests found in 1980 and 1981 were in trees in grassland areas, but thereafter nearly all were on the ground amongst heather. Compared to the study area as a whole, grass moor was less frequent and heather moor more frequent within a 1.5 km radius of the nesting area. Nearest-neighbour distance varied from 5.7 km in 1985 to 2.1 km in 1992, remaining relatively stable in comparison to the increasing size of the population. Nesting areas were aggregated in comparison to a distribution of random points. The density of nesting areas was greatest between 0.25 and 1.5 km from the moorland edge. This paper demonstrates that collaboration between conservation professionals and dedicated volunteers can succeed in monitoring population change. © 1998 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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