I found several Loggerhead Shrikes on Brumley Road not far from my house. This one had impaled a Mole Cricket on the barbed wire fence. As I drove by it flew up and perched on the fence by the cricket. After a few seconds, it pulled it off the barbed wire, held it for a couple more seconds in its mouth, and then re-positioned and swallowed the cricket. Shrikes are famous for impaling their prey. They do this for several reasons: 1) it allows them to cache food for later consumption, 2) some insects like lubber grasshoppers have toxins that can make birds sick, but caching food allows the toxins to become less potent, and 3) shrikes lack talons, so thorns and barbed wire can be useful for holding prey in place while consuming it. I'm not sure why this fascinates me so much, but it's one reason why Loggerhead Shrikes are one of my favorite birds.
Loggerhead Shrike with Mole Cricket Impaled on Barbed Wire
Loggerhead Shrike Re-positioning the Mole Cricket
Loggerhead Shrike Swallowing Mole Cricket
Loggerhead Shrike Cleaning Bill
Loggerhead Shrike sporting a "Don't mess with me" Look
Awesome series Scott...what more can I say? I did not know that toxin factoid either, cool stuff.ReplyDelete
Super series of photos of the "Butcher Bird", Scott! I share your fascination with them.ReplyDelete