Saturday, January 12, 2008

What is this Bird?

Holy Butcher Bird, that a Northern Shrike in RuthieJ's backyard?

We were on our way home from Rochester this morning and I saw this bird sitting in the top of one of my trees down in the "wild" part of my backyard. It was about the size of a bluejay, but no crest on the head and grayish looking all over. "Holy Crap, that looks like a shrike!" I exclaimed to the spousal unit.

Fortunately we were 1 minute from home and I was able to rush into the house and grab my camera and binoculars before running out through the backyard to try and ID this bird. So what do you think? Can you tell from this crappy photo whether it's a shrike or not? (I tried to get closer, but of course the bird noticed me and flew away.)

I've seen them occasionally around here in the winter and even had one in my yard about 6 years ago, but haven't seen one in the area since.


Ruth said...

I saw my first Northern Shrike last week on a walk near the hospital. It was sitting on top of a tree like this one is. It was larger than I expected...the size of a Blue Jay is a good estimation. Fortunately, I was not the only one who saw it in that location, and it was confirmed by others in our local birding forum. I didn't have my camera, but this is the bird I saw.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Ruth,
Thanks a lot for your help!

Trixie said...

It sure could be a Northern Shrike. The really like the tops of trees. Loggerheads are very similar, slightly, slightly smaller.

What a cool find!

Jennifer said...

It seems like the right shape... Way to go Ruthie!

Jayne said...

I've never seen one, so I am no help at all!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Trixie,
It was in the very top branches. It didn't have the really black eye mask, so I'm wondering if it was a first-year bird?

Hi Jennifer,
I always keep an eye out for them in the winter and it was the size and shape that caught my eye too.

Hi Jayne,
You would most likely see the Loggerhead Shrike in your area (open country). Looks very much like the Northern Shrike but about 1 inch smaller. They're pretty interesting--a carnivorous songbird!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

There have been Northern Shrikes seen not too far(45min drive) from our house. WE have driven there 3 times and missed them every time. You are a lucky lady getting one in your yard.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Lisa,
Isn't that the way it always goes? And then someday when you really need to get somewhere, there it will be and you won't have a chance to stop and see it!

Persevere girlfriend, this is a very neat bird to see!

Mary said...

I've only seen a Loggerheah Shrike here - it's a larger bird with different markings but has the same head and beak shape.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary,
I've never seen the Loggerhead Shrike, but they do look similar in my field guides. I think both of the shrikes are declining in numbers, so I consider myself lucky whenever I see them.