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WANTED - Shrike the Impaler

Posted April 20th, 2008 at 10:59 AM by Hex_Enduction_Hour
Updated April 24th, 2008 at 11:29 PM by Hex_Enduction_Hour
Loggerhead Shrike

WANTED (for its ability to stick to the point)

Ever read, Hyperion by Dan Simmons? Remember the fearsome, victim-impaling sentient known as The Shrike?

Would you believe the character and its painful m.o. were most likely inspired by the Laniidae (butchers!) family bird, known as a Shrike?

Besides the winter opportunities to see the Northern Shrike, itís the Loggerhead Shrike we Americans have the best chance of observing.

Itís a bird that caught my interest because of its impaling tendencies. The Loggerhead Shrike will hunt small animals and insects and impale them on thornbushes and barbed wire.

Why the butchery? The Shrikes are birds of prey who lack the talons to effectively get the killing done. So, they compensate by using their heavy beaks to grab, stun, and impale their prey.

They may eat the food while it still lives, or leave the impaled serving for a later time. There is some evidence that impaling marks territory and can be key for attracting mates.

The Loggerhead's range is ample for sighting for any interested American 'Scaper.

Yet, like the Belted Kingfisher, the Loggerhead Shrike has successfully eluded my birdwatching efforts.
It's a birdwatching wish of mine to see a Loggerhead Shrike with an impaled prey. Disturbing aren't I???

Here are several examples of the handiwork of Shrikes aka thornbirds aka butcher-birds:

This one's for Netherspirit:

A Loggerhead Shrike enjoying a field mouse in
Daviess County, IN!.
Photo by John Maxwell

Ack - goodbye lizard!

Loggerhead Shrike with Texas Horned Toad, Forshage Ranch, Edinburg, TX
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Image source
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Comments 5
Total Comments 5


netherspirit's Avatar
That is incredibly interesting, and would be quite a site to see. What an awesomely brutal bird!
Posted April 20th, 2008 at 12:07 PM by netherspirit netherspirit is offline
Hex_Enduction_Hour's Avatar
Nether, there is some Shrike footage on YouTube.

I enjoy this one as it lacks unnecessarily-added background music.
It's a handsome little bird. I'd really like to see this species someday.

This footage shows a Great Grey Shrike hunting a mouse and where it later impales the prey:
Posted April 21st, 2008 at 01:25 AM by Hex_Enduction_Hour Hex_Enduction_Hour is offline
funrun's Avatar
That impaling video is great! The background music is so bad and perfectly timed that it adds humor. Cool bird.
Posted April 22nd, 2008 at 03:56 PM by funrun funrun is offline
Supergeek's Avatar
Awesome! They live around here too.
I get to see belted kingfishers all the time but I don't believe I've ever seen one of these.
Thanks to you and funrun I might just have to take my camera out and sit in the woods this weekend.
Posted May 9th, 2008 at 05:11 PM by Supergeek Supergeek is offline
Hahma's Avatar
That's a pretty cool video HEH. Hopefully you'll get to see one of these bad mamma jamma's in action.

From the map of their territory, it doesn't look like they get up by me, so I'll rely on you for updates and info.

Also, I remember hearing of a missile called the "Shrike". Perhaps it was named after the bird.
Posted May 10th, 2008 at 10:35 AM by Hahma Hahma is offline
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