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VTBIRD  October 2007

VTBIRD October 2007

Subject:

Re: northern shrike - irruption?

From:

Will Raup <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 30 Oct 2007 11:15:04 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (12 lines)

 
I agree I that it is going to be a good year for them, here is something interesting I pulled off the New Brunswick, Canada list-serv:
 
From NB Birds.
 
The most notable birds, mainly because of their numbers, were SHRIKES, EASTERN PHOEBES & EVENING GROSBEAKS. Several Phoebes were always around but accurate counting was impossible. They moved about too much, but on one occasion I identified 7 separate birds. Several times I saw individuals so gorged on flies that they would just perch and look at the insects as they collected in sheltered, sunny locations. Evening Grosbeaks were seen every day, usually 6 to 10 small flocks (<20) moving about the forested areas. This is the most of this species that I've noted for several years. Shrikes were very prominent every day and I saw as many as 4 at the same time in an area about 600m x 400m. They provided interesting observations of their behavior, some of which I had never before seen. On one occasion I saw 2 Shrikes winging up the valley. One was carrying what appeared to be a small rodent and the second Shrike was very intent on stealing the meal. Although parasitic behavior is common throughout nature, I never before saw 2 Shrikes interacting. On another occasion, I was watching a few GOLDFINCHS feeding on the ground, right outside an open window when a Shrike made 2 half-hearted passes, perhaps 10 feet above them. The finchs watched the Shrike but barely slowed their feeding. BIG mistake!!!! After watching for just over a minute, the Shrike launched from a branch, less than 40 feet away. The Goldfinchs scattered but one was too slow. The Shrike rolled onto it's back and struck the finch from below while fully inverted. It continued it's roll and reached the ground with the finch struggling beneath it. Within a few seconds the prey was dispached and carried off. I've seen Shrikes hunting (and getting) mice but this was the first time that I was close enough to see the actual capture and kill. It was also only the second time that I have seen a bird taken by an inverted predator. On a third occasion, 9 Crows landed in one of the large Spruce trees that a Shrike had been using. The Shrike took exception to their presence and began to run them off. That much smaller bird began attacking Crows, one by one, until it had driven them all away. It was fun to watch as the Shrike escorted each Crow for several hundred yards and then returned to "It's" tree for another Crow. The Shrike made 8 such trips. The last Crow was the only one that seemed to get the message and depart without "encouragement".NatureNB guidelines http://www3.nbnet.nb.ca/maryspt/nnbe.htmlFoire aux questions de NatureNB http://www3.nbnet.nb.ca/maryspt/nnbf.html
 
Will Raup
Albany, NY
_________________________________________________________________
Help yourself to FREE treats served up daily at the Messenger Café. Stop by today.
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