Merlins are the smallest falcon species in Europe. They eat mostly songbirds, which they follow during the migration. Most of their prey consists of birds such as pipits, larks, wheatears, finches and buntings. By flying rapidly and just above the ground, they surprise these small birds. They fly the last few meters like a nistle thrush, perhaps as extra camouflage. Sometimes, merlins chase their prey long enough to tire them out so they no longer can escape.