The Butcher Bird By: Wes Tallyn

The Loggerhead Shrike has often been referred to as the “Butcher Bird.” This bird may seem unassuming at first, but they are voracious predators.

Loggerhead Shrikes typically can be found near fields and other clearing areas with low grass or shrubs. They will perch themselves high up on a tree limb, power line or building and scan fields for their next meal. The shrikes feed on everything including insects, small mammals, reptiles and even other birds nearly as large as them. If you’ve ever seen an insect or reptile impaled on barbed wire fencing, there’s probably a shrike nearby. Often times, if the shrike catches large prey, they will impale them on a thorn or barb on a fence to avoid struggling with the prey or to keep it from escaping.

The Loggerhead Shrike is the only shrike species common to Florida. They can be identified by their gray and white feathers along with a black “mask” and black wing-bars. Shrikes will often mock the sound of other birds and insects to get them to either call back or show themselves to give up their location. After luring in their prey, they swoop down from their perch and pounce.

Keep your eyes open the next time you’re in a park or near a field and, maybe, you can see one for yourself!

 

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