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Jan 8, 2011

The Butcher Bird

I went looking for Snowy and Great Gray Owls again today but once more had no luck.   There's still lots of winter left and if I don't spot one, someone else will.   The word will then spread quickly and there will be a horde of us standing on some frozen sideroad, spotting scopes and cameras at the ready.   I did however spot a Northern Shrike up in Holland Landing, at the Morning Sideroad and Yonge Street.   It's a smart-looking bird and in the winter, hereabout, it's diet is primarily mice and small birds.   While the shrike is a predator bird, it does not have talons like a raptor.   It does have a sharp curved beak and uses that to give its prey a quick fatal blow to the back of the neck.   It will then often impale its victim on a thorn or piece of barbed wire that makes it much easier for the shrike to butcher it's kill.   Hence, it's nick-name: the Butcher Bird.
Please comment if you wish. 


Northern Shrike ~ Lanius excubitor

Wikipedia Photo

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