And they named him …

After a long, mostly undemocratic process of polling longtime volunteers as well as asking the rabble over on Facebook to share their suggestions, we have made a decision about naming the male Peregrine Falcon at the downtown site.

Options were weighed, the pros and cons of various names discussed at great length, and pronunciation debated. There were some great suggestions that made the shortlist:

  • Caelum (Latin for “Sky”)
  • Torngasak (Inuit sky god)
  • Wödin (Anglo-saxon god of the hunt, equivalent to the Norse god Odin)
  • Gordon or Pringle (to honour a longtime member of the Ottawa birding community who recently passed away)
  • Lyon (after the street, which was named for 19th-century Ottawa mayor Robert Lyon, who served only one year)
  • Hadfield (after the astronaut, Chris Hadfield)

In the end, we chose a name that we feel is sufficiently respectful, meaningful, simple to spell, and easily explained to the general public. It also perfectly complements his mate’s name, Diana, named for the Roman goddess of the hunt.

We are naming him Janus, after the Roman god of beginnings and transitions.

Diana and Janus are considered a divine pair in mythology. As well, he is the first new male at the downtown nest site since Connor arrived in 1998. Connor’s passing last year and Janus’s arrival represent both a major transition and a new beginning for the Falcon Watch.

Some may struggle with how to say “Janus”. “Jane-us” seems to be the most common pronunciation, if Google search results are to be believed. But some say “Jan-us” (like “January”, his namesake month), although this is easily confused with “Janice”.

Those schooled in the Classics may prefer “Yan-us”, which is the original Latin pronunciation (in fact, the name can also be spelled “Ianus”). However, we neither live in ancient Rome nor, for the most part, I think, speak Latin.

Thanks to everyone who shared their ideas.


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