Shrike the Impaler~

The Salton Sea in Southern California is home, at various times of the year, to 424 species of birds.

The Loggerhead Shrike is a song bird who is a tough ten inches of feathered lethality!

Listen to his song repertoire by clicking on the link (be patient, it takes him a bit to warm up!)

Loggerhead shrikes sing beautifully, and kill quite effectively, resulting in a couple of common nicknames for them including, ‘the butcher bird’ or ‘the littlest bad ass.’

They kill prey like lizards by impaling them on thorns or barbwire fences. They are tough little birdies.

Despite their toughness, loggerhead shrike populations in California have declined 72% since 1967. They are designated a ‘California Species of Special Concern.’ Efforts by California’s Audubon Society are achieving some success in bringing California shrike population numbers back up. I was thrilled to see this very curious little guy who seemed almost as interested in me as I was in him!

Cheers to you from California’s oh so curious, and oh so beautiful, lethal-little-loggerhead shrike~

221 thoughts on “Shrike the Impaler~

  1. Pingback: Shrike the Impaler~ β€” -

  2. Great pictures, Cindy.
    This post reminded me of James Thurber’s Fable “The Shrike and the Chipmunk” []. I like Thurber’s moral at the end:
    “Early to rise and early to bed makes a man healthy and wealthy and dead”
    Take care, and have a wonderful 2021,

  3. Cindy it is so beautiful, thanks for share your art.
    I hope you had a wonderfull Christmas time, and i wih you a happy new year with all blessings.
    Take care my friend.

  4. Maybe he was sizing you up for steaks. πŸ˜‰

    I am familiar with them from southern Alberta. Years ago, people used to target them and tried to eliminate them (they were seen as β€œevil”). They are slowly starting to come back but are still designated as threatened.
    Lovely photos; thanks, Cindy. πŸ™‚

  5. What an elegant beauty! My husband is fascinated with them and the running joke in our family is whenever we see a bird that we couldn’t catch a good enough look at to ID, we’d say, “Oh, it was a shrike for sure, and you missed it!” My family is very silly. πŸ˜‚ I will show him this post and make him envious!

  6. How beautiful! Love its song.
    Seems like almost every day is a special day for some animal that needs our help.
    It seems a bugger, but the reason they need our help is our fault!
    Have you seen each of the 424 species? ❦

    1. A blogger told me that shrikes were killed off enmasse where she lived because people didn’t like them killing things. Human logic…. I definitely have not seen all 424 species, but I am working on it. There are some very exotic visitors from far flung places that show up there randomly that are included in the count. I’ve seen a few of these, but there is much more to be seen. On our last visit my husband asked, “What are those?” pointing to a large group of floating ducks.
      I told him, “Common ducks.”
      When I got home and looked at my photos, I saw several rare and endangered ducks in the group that I hadn’t even noticed. This happens fairly frequently.

      1. Well, Cindy, this sounds like a fab project while it’s too, dangerous to travel due to Covid.
        Keep taking pics, and documenting these birds. You may see all 424 this year!
        Will you be posting the ducks. I adore ducks. I’d love to pet some!
        I’m just working on a NY post with my ceramic ducks! ❦

        1. I need to go back and focus on the ducks. I do have snow geese that look much like ducks that I will post next. I am looking forward to seeing your ceramic ducks. Happy & Healthy New Year Resa. Hope we have another fun year together დ

  7. When the title of your post first came across my email, I was expecting an epic poem of the Song of Roland type, with soldiers being bisected with swords and such. I got the littlest badass instead! I’d never heard of the Loggerhead Shrike; it was quite interesting to learn about them.

  8. So beautiful and strong. Nature is fascinating and your insights are so welcome. Thank you for bringing attention to something not found on the Disney Channel.
    Our world needs more reality than Disney. Thank you for bringing it Cindy πŸ’•

  9. I always learn something new when I read your posts, Cindy, and I always love the images you give us – truly magical.
    I look forward to spending a better 2021 with you and your feathered friends!

  10. That is one feisty bird. I’m so glad you spotted one and got pictures. Your photos never disappoint, Cindy.

    Wishing you a Happy New Year…I just know it’s got to be better than 2020. xo

    1. I read a story about you on CNN???? Your floating island is nothing short of amazing. I wish they showcased your photography, but loved seeing your woodcarving. What a slice of pandemic-panic-free-paradise you have created for yourself. Kudos to you my friend and thank you. Looking forward to spending another year with you, Happy, Healthy 2021 დ

      1. Sorry Cindy,thats my friend Wayne. He and Katherine live in Freedom cove. He has assembled his flotilla over many years!
        I wish I was half as talented as him!
        It appears he’s becoming famous. I hope not too much as being famous is the kiss of death!

  11. First, I am so dazzled by the lighting the images and their crisp clarity. Your images are always a visual happy meal for me. Then I am delighted again with recording and information… just terrific!

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  13. zannyro

    The minute I heard it singing, a smile popped onto my face. What a gorgeous little predator…stunning mask. I’d love to see one,but I’m in the wrong part of the country. I hope the California Audubon Society will have great success, it would be such a shame to lose these birds.

  14. Anonymous

    ” I was thrilled to see this very curious little guy who seemed almost as interested in me as I was in him!” Maybe he was contemplating what you might taste like, Cindy. πŸ™‚
    Happy New Year. –Curt

  15. “They kill prey like lizards by impaling them on thorns or barbwire fences. They are tough little birdies.”

    Shrike indeed sounds fierce! So sorry to hear their numbers are declining.

  16. Thank you for sharing these little rascals. I think they are beautiful.
    I’m planning on visiting a place known to be the home of the Eagle-owl before going back to work after the holidays. Birds are interesting animals. Happy New Year Cindy!

  17. What lovely little power houses they are! I am not aware of the exact number of the birds in my area. I know we used to have more pheasants and Bob Whites (another type of pheasant). But there was an avian flu that killed off quite a bit of them. And just the other year I had wild turkeys in my yard! I hadn’t notice them before.

    Best of the New Year to you and yours! (((Hugs))) From SE, PA πŸ’–

  18. ich wΓΌnsche ein besseres gesundes Jahr 2021 und mΓΆgen alle deine WΓΌnsche in ErfΓΌllung gehen.
    In diesem Sinne ein schΓΆnes Wochenende fΓΌr dich, Klaus von der MΓΌritz

    1. Was fΓΌr ein schΓΆner Neujahrsgruß mein Freund. Vielen Dank. Frohes und gesundes neues Jahr fΓΌr Sie. Ich freue mich darauf, ein weiteres Jahr mit Ihnen zu teilen. πŸ‘ͺπŸŒƒπŸ₯‚πŸŽ‡

      1. Your photos would make a great calendar. I know someone who takes the same calibre of photos that you do, and he produces and sells calendars every year. πŸ™‚

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