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A number of raptor species have increased their presence within the boundaries of cities and towns over the last few decades including merlins, which now nest in West Fargo. Keith Corliss / Forum Communications Co.

City-dwelling raptors no longer things of rarity

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On the 18th of December, 1993, I saw my first merlin sitting in a tree in Fargo's industrial park. By then I had been birding for over 15 years and merlins--those energetic falcons with an attitude I'd heard so much about--were quite near the top of the list of birds I wanted to see. I now realize there were two reasons it took me so long to find one. First, the birds were not all that common only briefly visiting our area during migration.

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