Hand-colored lithograph showing a male Eurasian Merlin (Falco columbarius or æsalon) bringing back a smaller dead bird to the nest, awaited by its mate and four young
a few days old, according to the author. This latter starts the entry for this bird as follows:
The persecution to which the Falconidæ have of late years been unrelentingly subjected has reduced the numbers of the various species to a par; but, if there be any difference in this respect, perhaps the merlin is more frequently seen than any other of them, with the exception of the kestrel and the sparrow-hawk. Not that the individuals are more numerous than in former years, but that its secluded habits, the wild situations it affects, and its power of rapid flight have tended to its preservation, and enabled the merlin to hold its own, while the other hawks have fallen victims to the traps and destroying devices of the keeper.