Merlin thrives at Northumberland wind farm


A total of 23 Merlin chicks have fledged at a Northumberland wind farm since it started operating in 2017, says the Northumbria Ringing Group.

Europe's smallest falcon was added to the UK Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern in 2015, with the population estimated at some 1,000 pairs.

But no fewer than five youngsters flew the nest at Ray Wind Farm in 2023, following another successful breeding season.

Five Merlin chicks fledged from the wind farm in 2023 alone (Northumbria Ringing Group).

Paul Galloway, from the Northumbria Ringing Group, said: "Merlins have attempted to breed on Ray Wind Farm every year since 2017, and with fledged young birds recorded in all but one of those years it is one of our most successful sites.

"We are particularly grateful to Vattenfall, along with other like-minded landowners, for their collaboration and ongoing support with monitoring efforts."

Habitat improvement works on site have restored blanket bog and encouraged heather to grow.

Robin Cox, environmental specialist at Vattenfall, said: "It is hoped that our ongoing collaboration with the Northumbria Ringing Group will continue to see this trend of successful breeding attempts by merlin as well as other upland species such as Eurasian Curlew and European Golden Plover."