I walked the circuit around the base of the Millennium Park hill in the mood for snow buntings, but to no avail. There were plenty of song sparrows and tree sparrows, but nothing too exciting. Then I was in my car on my way out and I spotted something on a light pole. A pigeon? Or something nicer? I stopped, pulled out the binoculars. Not a pigeon! The not-a-pigeon swooped directly towards me, a song sparrow narrowly escaping its grasp. It flew up to the top of a small pine tree. A merlin! Female, it would seem.
A car makes a wonderful blind. I slowly pulled over and rolled down the window. I was nice and close but the light was bad. I pulled the car over. A good angle but too far. Finally, risking losing it, I pulled the car right up front, and slowly stuck the camera out the open window. Got it!
Click on the photos for better views. Pretty cute for a dreadful predator.