The pretty little ‘Butcher Bird’

IMG_8401Although their range covers almost the entire southern half of North America, I had never seen a Loggerhead Shrike before last spring. Over the past two weeks, though, they seemed to be everywhere, sitting atop scrubby perches, surveying the landscape for some tasty prey.

IMG_8384Also known as ‘Butcher Birds, Loggerhead Shrikes are unusual in that they are song birds who are also predators. Despite their pretty little songbird appearance, they have a sharp, curved, hooked beak, perfect for snatching up insects, small birds, lizards, amphibians, and even small mammals.
IMG_8406As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, these little ‘masked bandits’ have quite the gruesome habit. They often impale their prey on sharp objects or branches to keep in storage for a later meal!

I noticed that they always seemed to perch not far from prickly bushes like this one, so I was looking all the time for evidence of their larder. But . . . . I didn’t find any little victims! IMG_7248To hear about this fascinating and unusual bird, listen to this brief Bird Note episode, and read more at: Audubon, All About Birds, and Archive.org

11 thoughts on “The pretty little ‘Butcher Bird’

  1. Fun title, BJ — pretty. yet butchering, and it sums the loggerhead shrike up perfectly. Your description and photos (nice view of the deadly hooked bill) are great. πŸ™‚

  2. Thanks for enlightening me to your Butcherbird. Our Grey Butcherbird visits me several times a day. And is becoming like a pet to me, he has a beautiful excited song which you hear around the streets a day. He baths in the dog’ water bowl:-)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s