Merlin lay their eggs from late April to early May. After 30 days of incubation, the eggs hatch. This period from late May through early June is an exciting time in the world of young Merlin. The female stays at the nest to protect and tend her young and the male alternates between leaving to find food and returning to defend his territory from crows, jays, ravens and other large birds. After 8-10 days of brooding, the female joins the male in bringing provisions to their young. At this stage of life, nestling flight feathers are just beginning to grow and the body is covered in a soft gray down, making them vulnerable in their first few weeks of life to owls and arboreal mammals.