Satuday march 22nd we were coming back from the field trip and around 2pm in wingate, NC. Martina and I were looking out the car windows and we saw a hawk but it looked like a falcon. We both got about a five second look at the bird. Right away we consulted our field guide and matched it up with a merlin. We are still not sure what it is our best guest is a merlin. We have no photo. What other bird of prey could it be. Its in between the size of a kestrel and a pereigine falcon. It had a white stomach and has the dark body of a falcon.
Yes, it was very dark, too dark for a RT. I would think Cooper's, but the belly was a very snowy white. Too slim to be a Buteo, and my first thoughts were 'falcon'! We saw it roughly between Wingate College and the hospital on hwy 74. We didn't know if we should have posted it on the listserv, so we wanted to see what anybody else thought.