I found another N Shrike today near the High School. That makes the third shrike for me this season, my third ever for the county and only the 6 or 7th N Shrike I've ever seen (you can tell I don't get up north very much).
They have to be some of the coolest birds. With that striking pattern and black "bandit" mask. Then the fact that they're predatory to top it off. I love the way the hunt. (I EDITED THE FOLLOWING OUT OF MY WISBIRDN POST)
" Rather like a hawk. They sit up above the ground and scan for their prey (normally Voles or other small mamals) When they see one, the swoop down and grab the animal in their hooked bill and then fly to a Hawthorn tree (or other prickly species) and impale their prey upon the spines rendering the vole helpless as well as effectively killing it. The Shrike can then use it's strong hooked bill to tear it's prey apart." They are master hunters. Truly the "Bandits" of the bird world.
Anyway, This year should be called "The Winter of the Northern Shrike". It's looking like there's going to be a lot of them this year. (you can tell I love Shrikes). They're being seen from "Maine to Mississippi" [It's an old civil war term meaning from one end of the country to the other] (aka, Milwaukee to La Crosse).
Since Snowy Owls prey on some of the same food as Shrikes, they should be making a sweep south too. I heard one was found at Montrose in Chicago this week. They're around. I still need one for my life list. A Snowy would make a great bird #380.