Ever Been Mobbed by Loggerhead Shrike juveniles?

Cell phone shot of Loggerhead Shrike fledgling on pickup gateCell phone shot of Loggerhead Shrike fledgling on pickup gate

I have!

The past few times I have photographed the young Loggerhead Shrikes on Antelope Island they have perched on the tail gate of the pickup, walked on the roof, flown extremely close to the windows and our lenses, perched on the pickup mirrors and landed on perches so close that I feel my only option is to take portraits of them.

There has been as many as three of the fledglings on the pickup at once, every where you look… Loggerhead Shrikes!

The photo above is from my cell phone and it was cropped a lot, sorry for the poor image quality. There was another bird perched on the side of the pickup bed at the same time but I couldn’t fit them both in the frame.

Loggerhead Shrike juvenile on the pickup hoodLoggerhead Shrike juvenile on the pickup hood

This little Loggerhead Shrike was on the hood of the pickup looking for things to eat, I took this with my Nikon D200 with the 18-200mm VR lens attached through the windshield. I think that white thing in front of the shrike was the reflection of a piece of paper on the dash.

Loggerhead Shrike juvenile with plastic trashLoggerhead Shrike juvenile with plastic trash

I also saw this Loggerhead Shrike dive into a Sagebrush and it came back up with this clear piece of plastic that it tried to eat. I must say that seeing this made me angry because our trash can kill birds and wildlife and shouldn’t be left where they can get to it.

This bird was banded by researchers from the Great Salt Lake Institute (GSLI) at Westminster College who are studying the uptake of mercury from the Great Salt Lake in spiders and the birds that eat them.

Fledgling Loggerhead Shrike PortraitFledgling Loggerhead Shrike Portrait

These Loggerhead Shrikes have been fearless and gutsy, perching so close to the pick up that you can almost reach out and touch them. For this image I had to turn off my limiter just to be able to bring the shrike into focus and even at f9 I was able to see the focus drop off in areas but since I was at 1/100 I couldn’t go to f11 and have sufficient shutter speed.

Are you a bug?Are you a bug?

My depth of field was not deep enough for the head on pose of this image but I sure laughed when I viewed it on my monitor. The juvenile did seem to be curious about my lens, perhaps it saw its reflection in the glass or maybe it thought I was a giant bug.

Another fledgling Loggerhead Shrike portraitAnother fledgling Loggerhead Shrike portrait

This was the same shrike as shown in the two images above. It still amazes me that these young shrikes would repeatedly fly in to land so close. Looking into the bird’s eye I can see the sun rising over the hill behind me, the fluffy clouds and bits of blue sky. I can also see the separation of individual feathers, bits of left over food on its bill and those wonderful black rectal bristles that almost appear to be eyelashes.

Perched Loggerhead Shrike juvenilePerched Loggerhead Shrike juvenile

Yes, I was mobbed by Loggerhead Shrikes and I didn’t mind a bit because it afforded me the opportunity to observe and photograph them up close and it was fascinating! Being a bird photographer is great.

Mia

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.

17 Comments

  1. Thank you all for your kind comments on this post!

  2. Oh what wonderful and fantastic shots of the juveniles and so close up. I never had this happening to me. Although yesterday camping while touring I saw a juvenile Kestrel on the side of the road and was able to take a few very close. Still have to work on them. Just came home. As always fantastic, Mia!

  3. I especially enjoyed image #5. I had to look up rictal bristles: Definition: n. “Stiff, hair-like modified contour feathers that occur in a row and project from each side of the corners of the mouth (ritus); each feather (bristle) is equipped with a muscle that moves it. May funnel food into the mouth, protect the bird’s eyes from insect legs and wings, or have a tactile function similar to the wiskers of some mammals.” (Source: Sibley)

  4. Spectacular! I love the portrait shots. What a silly bird.

  5. What great close-up detail; the head-on shot is amazing.

  6. What WONDERFUL juveniles to be mobbed by. So much prettier (and without doubt more musical) than juveniles of our species.
    And yes, hiss and spit to those who cannot remove their rubbish.

  7. I’m in love! I hope they’ll mob me someday:) Beautiful shots Mia! Nice one with the cell phone!

  8. Being mobbed by birds you love is one of the great joys in life. I’ve been there with a flock of Canada geese I knew very well. (I know it’s strange but I really like Canada geese.) I love these portrait shots – they show detail at a level I’ve never seen before, with the feathers.

  9. Already have the well-formed hooked bill. Wow Beautiful! I noticed one has been banded.

  10. A fun set of Photos!

  11. Okay, I’m blown away! I so wish I’d been with you for that! Definitely a cool experience and your images make me feel like I could ‘reach out and touch a Shrike’ Thanks for sharing!

  12. Wow!! Mia, excellent!! I love your photos of the shrikes!
    Amazing!

  13. Great shots as always. What a fantastic experience!

  14. You can not only see the rictals but the barbels on individual feathers…incredible!

  15. LOVE those closeups…great pics as always Mia :-)

  16. WOW! Mia, ! I’ve never seen anything like these shots! they’re amazing…and so is the experience. Considering their reputation, have you thought they might have been hungry…and you and your pick up look good to eat??? I share your outrage at the lazy idiots who don’t properly dispose of their garbage, trashing the environment and jeopardizing wildlife. Makes me mad and sad at the sam time.

  17. Wow, these are wonderful, the closed up on the Shrike is monumental, nothing like it.

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