BUGS! I’ts what’s for dinner. Seeing this Loggerhead Shrike was a treat for me. It is very rare to see one much less see one with dinner in its beak.
The Loggerhead Shrike is a songbird with a raptor’s habits. A denizen of grasslands and other open habitats throughout much of North America, this masked black, white, and gray predator hunts from utility poles, fence posts and other conspicuous perches, preying on insects, birds, lizards, and small mammals. Lacking a raptor’s talons, Loggerhead Shrikes skewer their kills on thorns or barbed wire or wedge them into tight places for easy eating. Their numbers have dropped sharply in the last half-century.(allaboutbirds.org)
A Loggerhead Shrike can kill and carry an animal as massive as itself. It transports large prey in its feet and smaller victims in its beak.
- The upper cutting edge (tomium) of the Loggerhead Shrike’s hooked bill features a pair of built-in pointy projections, aptly named “tomial teeth.” Like a falcon, the shrike tackles vertebrate prey with a precise attack to the nape, probably using these tomial “teeth” to paralyze the animal with a jab to the spinal cord.
Loggerhead Shrikes are still fairly numerous in some areas (particularly the South and West), but their populations have fallen sharply. Between 1966 and 2015, the species declined by almost 3% per year.(allaboutbirds.org)
Keep a watch out for these little birds and hopefully you will get to see one catch it’s dinner.