This small falcon was found in the middle of a road in Brandon, Vermont, after a likely collision with a vehicle. He has a permanently dislocated right shoulder that causes his wing to sit at an odd angle. He cannot fly at all and is a relatively recent addition to our exhibits.
Brandon’s enclosure contains many ramps to accommodate his limited mobility. He has become quite skilled at using a combination of quick hops and flaps to move along his perches. However, he does require occasional assistance from our rehabilitators because he cannot properly preen the feathers of his right wing—he simply cannot reach them! Preening is especially important each year during his molt, when new feathers emerge covered in protective sheaths that must be removed.
In addition to his biannual checkups, Brandon receives nutritious food from the Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation. Merlins are naturally bird hunters, so Brandon eats a lot of chicken and quail in addition to mice. He enjoys tearing quail wings or rabbit feet for enrichment.