Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Deadly Beauty

This is a Northern Shrike. I did not take this photo.

A few months ago, one of these birds visited my feeders. When my daughter and I noticed it, our attention was grabbed because of its size and unusual coloring. Its not like any bird I've seen and it made a 'striking presence' on the tray feeder. I remembered its beak - I remember mentioning it to people because it was so hefty. Before I could get my camera in hand, it flew off and we never saw it again.
Until yesterday... while I was out. My daughter reported that the bird had returned but she didn't have a very good impression of it this time.
Apparently, one of the little pine siskins flew into the window - yes, even with decals! It was stunned and landed on the window sill. She said that she was going to open the window to see if the little bird was ok, when all of a sudden this bird, the Northern Shrike flew in and GRABBED THE LITTLE BIRD AND FLEW OFF WITH IT IN ITS BEAK! ! !
'Striking presence'? I should say so! I decided to look this bird up with more effort this time and what I found was very sad news for birders. I know that nature has its ways and all that, but this bird is not one you want hanging around your feeders! It doesn't have talons, so to kill its prey, it strikes a little bird hard with its powerful beak! The Shrike eats little birds. It will carry one off in its beak and if it doesn't want to eat it right then, it will impale it on thorns or barbed wire.
It seems that it is only in this area during the non-breeding season, and from what I can find out, it is not real common here - for which I am very thankful!


xsidekick409 said...

Thats one crazy bird.

Leedra said...

There are so many birds that eat other birds. I keep wanting to see a Hawk closer. He is right down the road from my Rockwood house. To see him closer would probably mean he was eating one of my little birds. Still doesn't mean we don't want the Hawk. It is just hard to accept natures cycle in all of this sometimes. Like the snake eating the hummingbird -no it was not a nice sight. Sometimes birding is not for the faint hearted.

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Diane said...

I know, Leedra- I grew up on a farm. Nature's ways are not unfamiliar to me. But, I think you said it well - maybe it bothers me more right now because I do feel a bit faint hearted. Thank you for your comment.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Natures way is is sometimes cruel,but all need to eat.Having said that,I don't want 'my' birds to be lunch for another.

Jayne said...

I've never seen a shrike, and can imagine it was a wee bit unsettling to see him...well, being a shrike! :c)