A merlin on the roof

The best part of being a “birdologist” is when you get to ignite a spark in some stranger’s eyes. “A falcon, really?!?”

I wouldn’t call myself an ornithologist really. I’d rather use the amateur term my own parents coined to describe, jokingly, their own passion for anything bird related. In a previous blog I described how my folks’ passion affected my own personal growth and this post is another anecdotal account of their precious inheritance.

I bet they would be proud had they seen me yesterday. They probably wouldn’t have thought it weird that their almost forty year old daughter would be perched on the edge of the roof of her 4-floor building, crouching to align her limited iPhone camera to the focal point of her binoculars. These binos are nothing spectacular but they are a gift from my birdologist parents. They are “sturdy enough for my adventurous heart”, as my parents wrote on their Christmas card.

Perched up there, I have snapped an insane amount of mediocre frames. But I captured this small merlin.

I know my parents wouldn’t think me crazy for going all this length to capture the little fellow. But at one point, at the back of my neck, I felt the concerned stare of my neighbors, whom I had never met, who were sitting on the roof terrace, enjoying their conversation. I smiled and asked: “have you seen the falcon?”

“A falcon”, they asked, jumping on their feet, suddenly very excited.

I promptly corrected them, as I didn’t want to be the source of a misunderstanding, peregrine falcon (I supposed that’s what they assumed) in the city are very rare. I muttered very rapidly that it’s only a merlin. I didn’t want them to loose their enthusiasm, you see. I kept to myself the fact that merlins are pretty common. “There’s one in every neighborhood of the city” I read in a bird blog from the Biodome of Montreal.

I handed my neighbours my binoculars and for a brief instant our bellies were fluttering in complete harmony with butterflies or maybe it was pigeons flying away.

Post scriptum:

I just published this post and all of a sudden, the merlin came back, with the right lighting, the right angle, etc… I snapped this other picture.

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2 thoughts on “A merlin on the roof

  1. As small as they are, any shot of a merlin is a good one!

    In the United States, peregrines are becoming common in the cities, because many cities have begun breeding programs, so that the falcons will control the pigeon population.

    • Thanks for the encouragement!
      As for the peregrines living in Montreal, I haven’t looked thoroughly for accurate stats, but I know they are being reintroduced as well, for the same reasons as you state.
      I get super excited when I see one in the country, so I think I would explode if I saw one in town. 🙂
      Keep on doing your impressive work of taking a picture of each birds of Michigan Lake!

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