Birds of prey evoke a strong sense of place for me. When I think or talk about somewhere I’ve visited, I can’t help but recall the raptors I encountered there. Similarly, if I’m thinking or talking about a specific species, I can’t stop images playing in my head of the location and landscape of a memorable encounter I’ve experienced with that particular raptor.

The merlin presents me with a set of such conflicting memories of vastly different geographic and social landscapes that are hard to reconcile, but it’s one of the reasons why I think of this little falcon with such affection.

My ...


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