A merlin was spotted not too far from an Icelander’s bedroom window, in the midst of helping himself to a small bird. This occurrence is apparently common this time of year.
DFS reports that the man who took the photo, Selfoss resident Steinn Þórarinsson, spotted the merlin eating a starling about four metres from his bedroom window last weekend. The bird seemed unperturbed about being watched while eating.
Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson, the director of the bird protection society Fuglavernd, told DFS that such an event is not unusual in south Iceland. Birds of prey such as merlins will, in the lean winter months, at times hunt smaller birds in residential areas, often times going after birds that people leave food for.
“In nature, it’s eat or be eaten,” said Jóhann. “And cruelty is just a concept that humans have invented. It’s not possible to categorise animals this way.”
Jóhann said the bird in the photograph is a youngster, and that they have a greater need for nourishment than adults. They are therefore bolder about flying into peoples’ yards to hunt.
The photo is not directly connected to the story. Steinn’s photo of the merlin eating the starling can be seen here.