Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Merlin and Dragonfly


We usually see Merlins as fierce predators on small birds. They are predators but are not limited to hunting birds. This male has been hunting over our beaver pond this fall but it was difficult to see what he was eating until I got this photo of him feeding on a large Blue Darner dragonfly. In this photo he has scraped off the wings on the branch below and is eating the body. He is able to catch these very fast dragonflies on the wing. Like most falcons Merlins can put on amazing bursts of speed and they do it in level flight rather than by diving like Peregrines.  He is identified as an adult male by the blue back and wings.

Merlin and dragonfly (Photo: Ken Allison, Almonte, Sept. 29, 2019)