A Northern Shrike Becomes a Butcherbird. March 28, 2022

Near the trailhead on the way back from the Opax Mountain HIke, we noticed a Northern Shrike. Soon it dropped down out of site and came up with what appears to be a Deer Mouse. It flew to an Aspen tree and tried to impale it there but the mouse ended up slipping off and falling below. The Shrike then retrieved it and flew over to a Hawthorn Bush where it was able to wedge the mouse in a position where it could tear it into bite size pieces. It is common knowledge that Shrikes do this but I had never seen it live before. After a while, it flew to another tree so we moved in closer to investigate its impaling job.

The photos aren’t the best, but it was such a pleasure to just be there and observe this. Here you can see the size ratio of predator and prey. Similar to seeing a Pygmy Owl with a large vole.
It flew into this Hawthorn Bush. Maybe it has been using this bush for a while? Here it is assessing where exactly to wedge/impale it.
The mouse all hung up.
Close up of the rodent. Shrikes will secure their prey in bushed like this so that they can tear bite sized strips off to eat. They do not have talons to hold their prey while feeding like most raptors.

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