Sunday, March 16, 2014

Northern Shrike nibbling Kidneys

Bill Hersey sent over a few photos of a Northern Shrike thats been visiting his yard. Interestingly this bird is coming to a kidney Bill had gotten with some suet at a local butcher.  Bill said he'd gotten the organs before, but he'd always thrown the meat on the snow behind his house for the crows and ravens. This time though he secured it on the front porch railing to see what would come to get it.  I'd say his experiment paid off when he found a Northern Shrike had started working on the frozen piece of meat and tearing off bits.  Bill was able to get several nice shots of the bird.

I have never heard of shrikes coming to eat suet or meat scraps before, but both Cornell's Birds of North America online and A.C. Bent's "Life Histories.." makes mention of the behavior.

Other excitement in Bill's yard is a male Northern Flicker that appeared on the first week of March.  This is exceptionally early for a migrant and I suspect the bird may have been one of a unusual number of flickers that wintered in Maine this year.  The only Northern Flicker I have seen in northern Maine in winter was a bird that showed up in February of 2011.    It too was in Bill's yard!!!

Bill sent a good documentation shot of his latest flicker eating spilled seed in the company of a couple of Blue Jays.  The bird was photographed on March 11th.