Thursday, September 10, 2009

Butcher Bird

Loggerhead Shrike

Shrikes, such as the Loggerhead Shrike pictured above, are often referred to as "Butcher Birds." These birds are actually songbirds, but they behave more like hawks. They prey on large insects, small birds and small mammals. The summer diet is mainly grasshoppers, and the winter diet is mainly mice and voles. The "Butcher Bird" moniker comes from their habit of impaling their prey on thorns or barbed wire for later consumption. Loggerhead Shrikes are found throughout North America in the summer months and spend the winter in the southern United States. The hooked bill gives them a menacing appearance. And of course, the bandit mask doesn't hurt, either. Pretty scary-looking little bird -- especially if you were a mouse or grasshopper!

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