Although 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.
Also 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.
As 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! To 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