November 06, 2013

Butcher bird

Butcher bird by ricmcarthur
Butcher bird, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr.
This northern shrike was being seen the last few days on the Marsh Trail at Rondeau Provincial Park.
I had the opportunity to get down the trail and got to see the bird.
It feeds on small birds, mammals, and insects, sometimes impaling them on spines or barbed wire fences.
Scientific stuff
Lanius excubitor
The Northern Shrike, like other shrikes, kills more prey, if it can, than it can immediately eat or feed to nestlings. Such behavior was characterized by early observers as "wanton killing," but the Northern Shrike stores excess prey to eat later. Storing food is an adaptation for surviving periods of food scarcity.
The Latin species name of the Northern Shrike, Lanius excubitor, means "Butcher watchman."

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