Some observations on the nesting behaviour of the Merlin in the North of Belarus. - I.I. Byshnev. - Berkut. 3 (2). 1994. P. 125-127.
Nesting behaviour of Merlins was studied at a meliorated plot of the Valky mossy bog in Vitebsk region (southern border of the breeding range of the species). Behaviour of four young birds in the age of 14 days was timed. Peculiarities in the behaviour of the male and the female were recorded. The observation time totaled 1 754 min. 7 main behaviour forms by the young at the nest were recorded: 1) sleep lying, 2) sleep standing, 3) looking about (lying and standing), 4) cleaning of the plumage, 5) training of the wings, 6) feeding, 7) sound signaling. Sleep standing during the light period of the day takes 21.4 % (up to 75 % in the morning, 8 to 12 % during the day). Sleep standing is characteristic of before- and after-noon hours. It lasts for 1 to 3 min and totals 3.2 % of the time budget. Looking about is an interim phase among the rest behaviour forms and it totals 31.9 % of the time. When the female with capture approaches the nest, looking about by the young is changed into crying phase totaling 2.3 % of the time budget. Duration and intensity of the cries depend on the young saturation. Cleaning of the plumage takes over a quarter of the time, i.e. 27.4 %. The fortnight-aged young spend 3.0 % of their time training the wing muscles, 10.6 % - feeding, of them over the half (57 %) is spent by the young eating the brought food independently. The female stays at the nest 2 to 7 minutes. Aggressive behaviour forms of the young towards each other were not observed. The female guards the nest all the light day through. The male hunts. It passes the capture to the female (from paw to paw) both in the air (one case observed) and sitting (two cases observed). The young feeded, the male rests for 20 to 29 min in the nearby of the nest. The female provokes hunting after the rest by usual crying and flying towards the male. Intervals between feeding of young by the female total 45 to 101 min. The time of the male flying away from the nesting site and returning back with capture fluctuates from 31 to 51 min. There is a description of the birds' behaviour during the capture passing over from the male to the female, peculiarities of the young feeding by the female, independent feeding of the young. [Russian].
Key words: Vitebsk region, Merlin, nestling, feeding, nesting behaviour.