Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Some Shrike Bird Drama In Nanaimo

Northern Shrike Pays  A Visit

This little songbird (no bigger than a Robin) paid a visit to the yard yesterday, I realized I had seen him fleetingly before. He has a pleasant little song and interesting though not spectacular markings.

Don't let the size, pleasant song and general appearance fool you, this guy is a very adept hunter and has an interesting way of 'storing' it's prey.

Northern Shrike Invites Purple Finch For Lunch

If you look carefully you will see the larger Shrike in the background and the hapless fellow with the flash of red was a Purple House Finch that didn't see the danger coming. While not possessing the impressive talons and beak of hawks and eagles, this fellow is one deadly hunter. The little hook on the top bill can be most deadly and effective.

While at least one of them has territory staked out at the Nanaimo River Estuary this is the first one I have seen around our yard. Needless to say, birdie activity in the yard came to a sudden stop and as of this morning has not fully resumed.

One of the interesting habits of this adept hunter (who will take rodents as well as other birds) is their habit of impaling their kills on thorns and other spikes, which during mating season is one means of attracting a mate. I presume if there seems to be many kills hanging about the females feel they have a good provider and will settle into the males territory, which he does protect.

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