The merlins that have occupied a nest across the street north from my house for the last two months in Waterloo have begun to actively feed nestlings. During the first month they came to and from the nest, straightened it up, mated, stashed food, etc. The next month she, and occasionally he, incubated eggs. There has been on occasion a second male. I still have a clear view of the nest in the tall sycamore which is now beginning to leave out after a bout with anthracnose. The neighbors are cool with visitors watching the merlins. I usually have a scope on the nest by my garage door at 1432 LibertyAve. Visitors are welcome. Evening light is best from my angle.
It will be about another month before the young fledge during which time the male could bring up to nine birds a day to the nest - mostly house sparrows. Vocalizations have been interesting - more to it than a simple call. I haven’t seen little heads yet. The nest survived 50mph straight line winds and torrential rain. They defend the nest from any raptor that gets anywhere near calling at length during the attack. Soft little chinks mixed in with the calls generally seem to mean some kind of interaction between the merlins - either food is here or it is time to switch places for a while.
Also of interest near by are nesting black billed cuckoo, flicker, bells vireos and maybe red-headed woodpecker on the bike trail at Gilbertville. Go north from the depot towards Evensdale until you get almost get to the Schaefer Natural area bench, almost a half mile walk.
Bank Swallows are nesting in the private quarry south of the road to the water treatment plant which is along the south border of of Riverview Park in Waterloo 1.5 miles from my house. Stand by the gate and watch - also YB cuckoo hanging out there.