Thursday, October 8, 2009

Northern Shrike #311

Photo by Terry Gray

While I was putting out more seed to lure in birds for the Big Sit! I saw this bird fly over head and I knew immediately it was different. It landed on a tall snag in the creek which gave me great views for several minutes...enough to make these notes and drawings. I'm still trying out that field-guide-less observation which is really tough, but probably for the betterment of my birding skills. When I got back to my office I went to my Sibley's and National Geographic field guides and I became afraid to admit what I think it was. So I sent my notes off to Idaho Birders Linked Electronically and they unanimously confirmed my observation. A Northern Shrike.

Sorry for the sloppy handwriting and awful drawing, but hey, my fingers were freezing. Here is the translation with post-note clarifications in parenthesis:

In flight dark/wht contrast pattern (on wings), Solitaire-like, Shrike-like, Big hook on bill, calls with kay-kay, About size of a Kestrel, head browner than body, Black line at eye level, slightly below - white at top/back of eye (the black arch I show on the drawing indicates boundary of white near the eye, not a dark mark on the bird), Black wings with white showing, Light tan/gray body, long tail white edges, faint wavy breast, other birds terrified of it, House Finch attacked it.

Other behavior notes - flew over head, perched on snag for several minutes, dove into large shrub after other birds, came back to perch for several minutes, dove into large shrub. I never saw it again.

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