Loggerhead Shrikes are calling on Antelope Island

Juvenile Loggerhead ShrikeJuvenile Loggerhead Shrike – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1500, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited, called in or set up

Last year about this time I wrote a post complaining about Loggerhead Shrikes being MIA but this year I don’t have that complaint because I am seeing and hearing these “Butcherbirds” on Antelope Island. Our winter wasn’t as bad or as harsh as the winter of 2012-2013 and the Loggerhead Shrikes appear to have been able to find enough prey to survive on without having to go further south.

Loggerhead Shrikes nest and rear their young on Antelope Island and I am looking forward to juveniles on top of some of the shrubs around late June or early July. The juvenile Loggerhead Shrike in the image above was photographed in very early August of 2010 and at its age it was still being fed by its parents but it was also searching for prey on its own.

I wonder how long it will be before I see the adults carrying nesting materials. We’ll see!


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.


Calling adult Loggerhead Shrike

Calling adult Loggerhead ShrikeCalling adult Loggerhead Shrike

Two days ago I posted a portrait of a juvenile Loggerhead Shrike that I had photographed on Antelope Island State Park, today I am posting an image of an adult Loggerhead Shrike taken a day after I photographed the young shrike.

This adult was busy trying to feed a passel of fledglings and took a short break on the top of a Sagebrush near the pickup. This time of the year the adults look a bit ragged, probably from all the hectic activity involved in taking care of their young although I am just guessing about that. At any rate during the fall and winter the adults do have a more “dapper” look than they do during the breeding season.


More Loggerhead Shrike images

Juvenile Loggerhead Shrike close up

Juvenile Loggerhead Shrike close upJuvenile Loggerhead Shrike close up – Nikon D300, handheld, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 640, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Yesterday a family of Loggerhead Shrikes kept us busy for a bit as the juveniles begged the adults to feed them and the adults were hunting food to bring to the rather noisy youngsters on Antelope Island State Park. One of the juveniles came very close to flying into the open windows of the pickup!

One of the young Loggerhead Shrikes flew onto a very close, elevated perch near the pickup and sat there for quite a few minutes so I decided to do some close up portrait images of it because I didn’t want the ugly, manmade perch to be visible in the frames. I had to turn off my limiter because the bird was so close in order to be able to focus on the young shrike.

It isn’t often I am this close to a Loggerhead Shrike!