Loggerhead Shrikes With Prey in Northern Utah

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Loggerhead Shrike with Armored Stink Beetle preyLoggerhead Shrike with Armored Stink Beetle prey – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Three days ago while photographing birds in northern Utah I was able to take images of two individual Loggerhead Shrikes with prey. The first Loggerhead Shrike dove to the ground from its perch and captured an Armored Stink Beetle and then flew up to a post to eat it.

My first experience with an Armored Stink Beetle was not a pleasant one because I learned how badly they can stink and not only that but how long a room can smell horrible when a stink beetle has been crushed.  It is an awful smell.

The shrike didn’t seem to care, it just wanted to eat.

Loggerhead Shrike holding a Western Yellow JacketLoggerhead Shrike holding a Western Yellow Jacket – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/3200, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Further down the road I spotted another Loggerhead Shrike and was photographing it when it also dove down to the ground and after a few seconds flew back to the same perch with a Western Yellow Jacket in its bill. The shrike seemed to take its time consuming the yellow jacket, I don’t know if that was because the bird knew the yellow jacket could sting it and wanted to crush the yellow jacket before it swallowed it whole or why it took longer to eat it than the other shrike took to eat the beetle but I did find it interesting.

Loggerhead Shrike with Western Yellow Jacket preyLoggerhead Shrike with Western Yellow Jacket prey – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I looked through the images I took carefully and never saw the stinger of the yellow jacket in the photos that I took of it.

I was happy to photograph these two birds with their prey because I haven’t seen or photographed many Loggerhead Shrikes this year as I have in years past.

Life is good.

Mia

9 Comments

  1. Pepe Forte November 4, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Amazing detail and great compositions. Thanks Mia.

  2. Mary Jo Adams November 2, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    I love your images of the Shrike! They are amazing birds. I was able to capture an image of one that had captured a bat…I couldn’t tell what it was until I processed the images. It was way cool.

  3. Elephants Child October 27, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Wonderful. And yet another reason to be grateful to birds, who remove things we really don’t want around.

  4. April Olson October 27, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    We were weathering a female Western Tanager for release in an outside cage. Yellow Jackets were attracted to her food and the tanager ate as many of the Yellow Jackets as she could. It was interesting watching how she went about killing them. First she would bite the head off and smash it and eat it instantly, she let the body sit a bit and go back to finish all but the stinger and sometimes the legs. She was amazingly fast and I never saw her get stung.

  5. S. Hansen October 27, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Great shots Mia – and very informative, as usual.

  6. Laura Culley October 27, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Just LOVE Loggerhead Shrikes. I watched a pair every day when I lived in Dallas and it was just fun watching them hunt! GADS but I love birds (except starlings, but they’re good hawk food…LOL!)!

  7. Patty Chadwick October 27, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Any bird that eats stinkbugs and yellow jackets is a hero in my book!!! The darned stiinkbugs somehow manage to get in the house and show up in thd oddest places, including my hair! I’ve learned, the hard way, never to squash the little devils…a squashed stinkbug releases a terrible smell and attracts others…I turn them loose putside or, if I’m in a nasty mood, flush them. Yellow jackets are particularly likely to sting this time of year. It’s as though they get really nasty as Fall approachesand are ready to zap anything that crosses them. These are great images of a very interesting bird.

  8. Liz Cormack October 27, 2017 at 8:04 am

    They are such pretty birds.

  9. Jerry Jourdan October 27, 2017 at 6:26 am

    Love the bokeh in the those last two images, Mia. Wonderful pics! Congrats!

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