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I encountered a Loggerhead Shrike a couple of weeks ago on an overcast and quite windy morning. The shrike perched, seemingly nonchalantly, atop a budding mesquite. The tree and the bird swayed with the wind but the shrike didn’t seem to mind.
I assumed that the shrike had affixed both feet firmly to the mesquite in order to stabilize its position in the wind. However, I was surprised when I got a look at my images on my computer. As you can see, the shrike is standing on just one leg with a posture that almost seems to be defiant.
How did the shrike manage to hang on so securely with only one foot? Well, obviously, its success speaks volumes about the strength of its grip. It may also have something to do with the shrike’s weight. An adult Loggerhead Shrike weighs about 1.7 ounces or about 48 grams. If it turns to face the wind, there might be little wind resistance and the bird would not need much effort to hang on to its perch. Still, that one-footed stance is pretty impressive. To me, it also symbolizes the shrike’s pugnacious nature. It is a tough little bird.
Image made with a Canon R5, Canon EF 400mm f4 DO II lens+Canon EF 1.4x telextender, M setting (auto ISO), ISO 640, f5.6 @ 1/800, +2 stops exposure compensation.