I'm referring to Falco columbarius, not the wizard of Arthurian legend - although I'm sure he could have taught me a thing or two. This merlin, which my falconry mentor has named "Flash", came from the Bird Rescue Center of Sonoma County after having been injured in March most likely by a car. His left wing was broken in 2 places, so he took a few months to heal prior to coming to Patric, a Master Falconer with experience rehabilitating all manner of raptors. Patric generously invited me to join her in "manning down" Flash to see if he could be taught to hunt. If successful, we could help him join the merlin migration to the north next spring/summer.
Working with raptors requires great attention to details and a lot of patience. However, a prior set of interactions with "Smoke", Patric's female Harris' Hawk, also taught me that no amount of good mojo and patience can counter a bird's aversion to specific humans (i.e. me.). That's another story.
Thankfully, Flash seemed to be open to sitting on my gloved hand and taking tidbits of quail meat from a hemostatic clamp. As I visited each morning to help him become more comfortable eating off the glove and tearing meat from a quail breast, I learned that my mental state impacted his willingness to relax and eat. If I was relaxed, he was relaxed.
So I established a habit of meditating and calming my mind during the drive to Patric's house to spend time with Flash. He reminded me that a calm mind can yield amazing results. Thanks, Flash.