Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Re: my last post.

Just a couple corrections to my last post. Corrections concerning the hunting style of the Northern Shrike. I got most of it right but after reading up on it I thought that you all might like to hear what I read. The following is per Sibely's guide to bird life and behavior.

"When these fierce songbirds are hunting, they can remind the observer of small raptors rather than Passerines. (Shrikes are in the family Laniidae order Passeriformes). Like Kestrels, both N American Shrikes "Perch-hunt". Both Shrikes will go after small mamals and large insects which make up the bulk of their diet. Shrikes can kill and cache birds as large a Mockingbirds and one Loggerhead Shrike was once observed taking a Mourning dove. Shrikes require open hunting grounds, ideally where short herbaceous growth is interspersed by bare patches of earth.
When a Shrike sights prey, it leaves it's hunting perch in swift, direct pursuit, seizing most prey on the ground and dispatching them immediately. a shrike kills it's prey by pounding it's bill into the base or back of the skull and then using it's hooked beak to sever the spinal cord between the prey's neck vertebrae, as falcons do. Shrikes also consume small insects on the ground where captured. Using it's feet or bill, a shrike carries larger prey (such as grasshoppers, beetles, crickets and all vertebrate prey) to a storage site called a larder. The prey is impaled ona thorn , fence barb, or broken twig, or wedged into a branch fork. This habit of impaling prey is the source of another name for the Shrike- the "Butcher bird". Storing prey helps the birds survive long periods of inclement weather. Birders can locate a Shrike's favored perch even in a bird's absence by looking for cached food. Regurgitated pellets of fur, feathers, bone, and chitinous material can often be found on the ground below these sites."

What a wealth of information. I highly recommend this book if you wish to know anything about bird life and behavior.

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