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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Loggerhead or Northern? Or not a Shrike at all?

I think this is a Loggerhead Shrike, maybe a Northern Shrike. I shot this with a 28-200 zoom with a doubler, so I had the lens racked out to 400 mm, and you're still seeing less than half of the original image area. That's why its a little soft. It's either lost its tail or it was flicking it and my lens didn't pick it up because of the motion. It only rested on the wire for a moment, but I think I saw a tail when it flew. From tip to tip the bird is about 9 inches. Shot on Battle Creek 5 mi. west of Hermosa.

I didn't know we had Shrikes here until I compared my image with those on bird websites. Here's a description of the bird:
A small gray, black, and white bird of open areas, the Loggerhead Shrike hardly appears to be a predator. But it uses its hooked beak to kill insects, lizards, mice, and birds, and then impales them on thorns to hold them while it rips them apart.

Okay, then.... Nice birdy. Good birdy.
You can't see it in these pictures, but its upper bill (if it's a shrike) has a wicked hook on the end, like an eagle's, but more like a precision needle.

Here's a picture of one of the murderous little bastards with a horned toad. And he's perching ON BARBED WIRE!

More pictures here.


Wayne Gilbert said...

Shrikes also impale their prey on thorns or barbd wire to come back later and consume them. Noah in the acquarium at the hotel in Pierre used to eat his fill of goldfish, then bite the tails off the survivors so they would hang around for later consumption. These are just examples of intelligent design. Certainly such conduct couldn't have just evolved or randomly occurred.

repete said...

The tail feathers seem a bit short from the shrike picture on the bottom, at least from that angle, and not as much black masking. Maybe they are not fully mature yet.

Michael Sanborn said...

I think Shrikes are unusual around here. Looked through my Audobon book...looks Shrike-ish to me. Sure needs aome tail feathers though. I'll keep looking.

Bob Newland said...

"Certainly such conduct couldn't have just evolved or randomly occurred."

Sounds like you could be talking about Gingrich.