The Merlin Falco columbarius is not so common in Britain as might be expected of a small raptor with an apparently large area of breeding habitat in the uplands. Its numbers are reported to have declined over a long period, perhaps at an increasing rate since about 1950 (Parslow 1967). Organochlorine pesticides were implicated in the 1960s (Newton 1973; Newton et al. 1982). Recent studies have, wi


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