Tuesday, 26 February 2008

A visitor from the continent

While out on one of the reserves yesterday I noticed a medium sized pale bird sitting very upright in the top of a hawthorn bush. "Is that a Shrike?" I said to my colleague. On viewing the bird through binoculars we were able to confirm that it was indeed a Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor.

Pictures taken by Bruce Martin

The shrike is renowned for catching prey such as small mammals and large insects and impaling them on thorn bushes or barbed wire fences as a food larder for later use. For this reason, one of the names for the shrike is "butcher bird".

They breed in Eastern Europe, Russia and Scandinavia and move south and east to slightly milder climates for the winter.

1 comment:

Norseman said...

Perfect timing for this post. I am doing a program this weekend on the two shrikes we have in my part of the States. Amazing birds....