CORNWALL, Ontario – The Cornwall Community Police Service (CCPS) are warning residents to be careful when walking near the intersection of Ninth St. and McConnell Ave.
“Cornwall Police are asking residents and especially pedestrians to take extra caution or avoid the intersection of McConnell/ Ninth as there have been several incidents over the past few days of Merlin Falcons striking pedestrians in the head,” CCPS wrote in a Facebook post. “Merlin Falcons are particularly aggressive and territorial while they have young in the nest. Cornwall Police have consulted with the Ministry of Natural Resources and will be monitoring the situation. Please exercise caution while walking in this area.”
The intersection in question is moderately busy as it is close to the Cornwall Community Hospital and a commercial park that includes Fresh Co. Dr. Navaneelan’s dentistry office and more.
According to allaboutbirds.org Merlin’s are migratory birds that typically pass through our region onto their breeding grounds further North, so it is unusual to have a Merlin breeding so far South.
“Merlins are small, fierce falcons that use surprise attacks to bring down small songbirds and shorebirds,” states the bird’s profile on allaboutbirds.org. “They are powerful fliers, but you can tell them from larger falcons by their rapid wingbeats and overall dark tones. Medieval falconers called them “lady hawks,” and noblewomen used them to hunt Sky Larks. Merlin populations have largely recovered from twentieth-century declines, thanks to a ban on the pesticide DDT and their ability to adapt to life around towns and cities.”
Interestingly, Merlin Falcons do not build their own nests, instead, they take over olds nests of larger birds or crows.