Friday, September 30, 2005

Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus


If you have ever found some poor lizard or mouse impaled on a barbed wire fence , you have had a close encounter with this bird. The loggerhead shrike stores it's prey on thorn bushes and barbed wire fence. I would see this once in a while as a kid and wonder if that mean, "stomp every critter" kid from down the street had been by. At the time I didn't know about the shrike.

The shrike has a hawk's spirit in a songbird's body...very predatory, but kind of a puffball. I really like them even though they are about as colorful as a mocker. I think it is their spunkiness that appeals to me.
This is a bird in trouble though. Do an internet search for the shrike and you will find state after state listing it as species of special concern or outright endangered.

To be honest, I haven't seen one for a while. I took this photo on the grounds of the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine about 10 years ago.

Just one more bird trying to hang on...
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9 comments:

pablo said...

I came across a mouse once impaled on a locust spine up here in Missouri. I assumed it was a shrike's doings. So why are they endangered? I don't think there is any shortage of mice or lizards? Habitat destruction? Seems most likely. Other reason?

Floridacracker said...

Pablo,
It looks like habitat loss and possibly pesticide use from the quick little net search I did. I don't know if they were super abundant to start with...
Nice to see you are not anonymous, but I'm sure you will be later. :)

Thunder Dave said...

FC,
They are a pretty cool bird. I've never seen one live, but have seen them on nature shows. Side note: You should think about investing in a decent video cam, you could be the next Marty Stauffer (sp?)!

On another subject, since you mentioned the Castillo de San Marcos, I seem to recall a picture of some fancy bloomers being displayed on a young FC so you might ease up on the lederhosen cracks. At least until I post a picture, then I guess it's fair game!

swamp4me said...

Cool, a butcher bird! Last sighting here was over 10 years ago. They are still seen in the Piedmont though.

Floridacracker said...

Swamp,
In the park?

Rurality said...

They've been absent here too. We used to see many of them on migration at Dauphin Island AL, but not lately. I thought we might have one or two here on the farm, but no.

Floridacracker said...

Rurality,
It's sad, I really think this bird is in big trouble.

Vicky said...

FC,

I live in South Florida and my school is doing this new enrichment program. We're trying to build a bird garden. Part of the project is to go bird watching to see what kind of birds we already have here. The first day, we saw one and we tried getting a picture, but we missed it. The second day, we went in a smaller group (myself included) and I held the camera. I spotted it on the light pole and snapped a picture. We later on confirmed it to be a Loggerhead Shrike. Do you know if they are common here?

Thanks,
Vicky

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, I live in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the Loggerhead Shrikes are everywhere this time of year! I have been seeing and hearing them all around, usually sitting high perched on power lines.

The more interesting thing is that I have only just noticed this bird around this area in the past few years, this year having the most I have ever seen. Wonder if they are changing their geographic homes some?

I have been a bird watcher for years and never saw any in this area before the last few years!

Thanks for the post, I really like them too:)