When most people think of the word merlin they picture an old man with a long gray beard doing magic back in the middle ages, but if you are lucky you might be able to see a merlin outside your window today. The merlin is a small falcon that can be found through out parts of the northern hemisphere. They are circumpolar, with nine different subspecies found around the world, 3 in North America and 6 in Eurasia.
Over the ages the merlin has been called several different names. In medieval times they were referred to as the queens falcon or lady's falcon. During this time period falconry, hunting using a hawk or falcon, was all the rage with the nobility. While the royal men would use the larger falcons royal women would typically hunt with the smaller merlin falcon. Later on merlins were referred to as pigeon hawks, even though they are considerably smaller then a pigeon and it would be rare to see a merlin trying to take prey that large.