Another first for me...The Northern Shrike.
I didn't go out looking for one... I don't even know where to look...well, until now anyway...
I saw this guy fly from a tree, through an open field and land on this sapling. I thought at first it was a Bluejay, but the coloring was...I don't know...lighter. It flew like a bluejay and it's markings were similar in flight, but I grabbed the binoculars anyway, and I am glad I did. I took this photo, but It didn't take long before he disappeared into a treeline and out of sight. I left to check out another place.
The thought of that shrike was pulling me back to that spot. I came back hoping he had a liking of the area and was pleasantly surprised to see him in another tree. He was backlit by the setting sun, but I didn't care. He really was a beautiful bird with interesting markings. And...What I found out about him in the bird guides was really interesting!
He's a vampire of sorts! Well, he doesn't drink blood, but read what this guy does do:
A predatory songbird, the Northern Shrike breeds in taiga and tundra and winters in southern Canada and the northern United States. It feeds on small birds, mammals, and insects, sometimes impaling them on spines or barbed wire fences.
The Northern Shrike, like other shrikes, kills more prey, if it can, than it can immediately eat or feed to nestlings. Such behavior was characterized by early observers as "wanton killing," but the Northern Shrike stores excess prey to eat later. Storing food is an adaptation for surviving periods of food scarcity.
Generally sits and waits on an exposed perch. Seizes prey near ground with feet or bill. Kills vertebrates by biting through neck. Removes wings, spines, and stingers from insects. Often impales prey, sometimes while prey is still alive, on thorns, spines, or barbed wire. May pull impaled prey and consume it right away, or may leave it for later consumption.
Source: All About Birds