Loggerhead Shrike — Portrait Of A Small Assassin
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This morning, I finally was able to capture an image of a Loggerhead Shrike that shows off this little assassin’s true personality. For some reason, all of my photos of this species up until now have depicted the bird as being yet another innocuous little songbird. That’s clearly not a true depiction of this little predator.
Shrikes aren’t raptors but they are nonetheless very fierce predators. Northern Shrikes prey on insects, rodents, and even smaller birds. They are classic ambush predators, hunting from perches and swooping down on their prey. They’re called “Butcher Birds,” not only because of their fierce nature but because they are prone to impaling their prey on sharp objects.
This morning I found this shrike sitting on a wire. To my delight the bird looks every bit as sinister in the photo as it is in real life. The bird’s black mask probably evolved as a way of helping it see better in brilliant sunlight but it truly looks like the type of mask that a fictional assassin might wear.
Image made with a Canon 5Diii, 100-400mm f4-5.6 ISII zoom lens+1.4x Telextender, aperture priority setting, ISO 640, f8 @ 1,600.