Loggerhead Shrikes are also know as Butcher Birds, and for good reason. These birds have the curious habit of impaling their prey (which is usually an insect or small vertebrate such as a frog, a lizard, or a snake) on thorns and other similar objects (such as barbs on barbed wire fences). They will return to these food caches to feed at their leisure. This aspect of their behavior may explain the reason this individual was found on a thorn-laden tree.
These dainty birds, at first glance have a superficial resemblance to the Northern Mockingbird, in both coloration and in size. But, on closer inspection, they can be seen to resemble a song bird trying to turn into raptor. Just look at the hooked beak for an easy example. They haven’t yet developed the vicious talons of a full fledged raptor yet, and that is one possible explanation for their inclination to impale. Their undersized feet may make it more practical to secure their prey on a thorn while feeding rather than try to grasp it.
|Date||–||Mar 5, 2012|
|Time of Day||–||Morning|
|Type of Behavior||–||Surveying|
|Main Article||–||Loggerhead Shrike||Observation Location|
One Reply to “Loggerhead Shrike – The Impaler”
For examples of the shrike’s impaling behavior see these articles: The Journals of an Amateur Naturalist