Is this who I think it is??

IMG_2343IMG_2342I wandered further along the trails at the Wellington Preserve for a second time this week, after a heavy rain. There were very few birds out and about, though I noticed most of my familiar wetlands friends on the signs illustrating the wildlife that might be sighted at the preserve

I remarked to myself that the only bird on the signs that I had never seen before was the Loggerhead Shrike. IMG_2348As I walked along the quiet, empty pathways, I heard an unfamiliar bird song coming from nearby. When I looked up at the exposed branches of a small narrow tree, I spotted an unfamiliar shape, looking the other way, and thought to myself, “Could that possibly be a Loggerhead Shrike!?”IMG_2350 As he fluffed up his feathers and turned his head, I saw the unmistakable, hooked beak. I DO believe that is exactly what I saw! The fairly common Loggerhead Shrike “is a songbird with a raptorโ€™s habits” (All About Birds), and their sharp curved beak is specially designed to capture the types of prey they eat, including insects, small rodents, amphibians, reptiles, and even small birds. IMG_2352In fact, gruesome as it sounds, the pretty Shrike is also known as the ‘Butcher Bird’, because it sometimes “kills its prey using its hooked bill [and] often stores uneaten prey by impaling it on thorn or barbed wire, returning to eat it later.” (Audubon). Yikes!! ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Who, me??

Who, me??

No matter how common it is, and whatever its eating habits (!), I was very excited to see it – this Loggerhead Shrike was a first for me. 

This brief Bird Note episode is an excellent introduction to the Loggerhead Shrike, and also includes a video of the Shrike vocalizing (see box at bottom of link).

11 thoughts on “Is this who I think it is??

  1. Oh how very fun to get yourself a lifer BJ! Shrikes are so wonderful, and even if they are listed as common, they are not always around. I really like your photos here, and displayed in a mysterious order, too. The two close-ups highlighting his ferocious hook bill are my favorites. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Thanks for sharing my enthusiasm, Jet! Speaking of his hooked beak, David Sibley has a wonderful drawing in his book showing the Loggerhead Shrike’s “larder” with his “victims” impaled on sharp twigs, waiting till the Shrike gets hungry later!!

  2. That’s a lovely little discovery, it is interesting that it is a Butcherbird, which is my bird of the week, but more so that my local butcherbird that visits me every day sang outside my window just as I read the part that said this Loggerhead Shrike was a Butcherbird, hows that!

    • Amazing timing, Aussiebirder! I loved your photos and audio. So funny that you see this bird every day, and for me it was such a new event. They have such a beautiful song, which just seems incongruous, considering their ‘character’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • I love the excitement in the birds song of the Grey Butcherbird, it always excites me to joy, in fact I just heard him singing just now!

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