Migrans memories

I saw an unusually large bird perching on the edge of terrace of the furthest visible building. I zoomed in, and there it was: a black kite (Milvus migrans govinda), the T Rex of our times. It is a hunter which is not above scavenging. It is a bird out of my childhood nightmares, one which snatched the lunch out of my hands on my very first day at school. Its lifestyle brings it into occasional conflict with crows; I see bands of crows harrying it when they are all after the same piece of food. Despite its large size, the kite seldom wins.

Looking at the history of the naming of the bird, I was overcome by memories of Paris, walks from a friend’s apartment on Rue Lacepede near the botanical gardens up Rue Monge, past the metro station of Censier-Daubenton to Place d’Italie. The bird was first named in Buffon’s book of 1770 CE, The Natural History of Birds, with illustrations produced under the supervision of the French naturalist Daubenton. It was assigned to its current genus, Milvus, in 1799 by one of Buffon’s collaborators on the book, Lacepede. A morning of nostalgia!

Author: I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

7 thoughts on “Migrans memories”

  1. There are many of these large birds around my house always, and some years back when I had two very small kittens staying on the roof of our house, I used to be in constant fear of them being seized by these birds.
    Having lunch snatched out of your hands must have been terrifying, didn’t realise they get so daring to snatch food.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Often, I lie on my balcony floor and watch their elegant flight, no flapping, simply slipping into the thermals… They’re scary up close though. Shivaji Market (Pune) has them circling too low for comfort.:)

    Liked by 1 person

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