photo by Blackland Prairie Master Naturalist Lorrie Mathers
Meet the Loggerhead Shrike, photo by Blackland Prairie Master Naturalist Lorrie Mathers, captured at Hagerman National Wildlife Preserve.
These predatory songbirds are found here in all seasons, and their population is declining. Their winter diet focuses on vertebrate prey. These include lizards, snakes, frogs, turtles, sparrows, goldfinches, ground squirrels, voles, mice, and shrews, to name just a few.
They hunt by scanning the ground from elevated perches, then diving onto prey. They also hover-hunt. Loggerhead Shrikes sometimes hunt from the ground, flashing their wing patches in a manner similar to the Northern Mockingbird, to startle prey out of hiding. To immobilize large prey items, the Loggerhead Shrike impales them on sharp objects such as thorns and barbed wire, or tucks them into forks between branches. Caches of prey thus lain away, also called “larders” or “pantries,” provide food stores during winter when prey is scarce.
Information from The Cornell Lab All About Birds