Loggerhead Shrike Allofeeding Courtship Behavior Plus a Close Up

/, Birds, Davis County, Loggerhead Shrikes, Utah/Loggerhead Shrike Allofeeding Courtship Behavior Plus a Close Up

Adult Loggerhead Shrike perched on a boulder, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, UtahAdult Loggerhead Shrike perched on a boulder – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Keen eyes, being in the right place at the right time and a touch of serendipity can make a morning out looking for birds to photograph go from good to great in no time at all. Yesterday while being chewed up by the no-see-ums on Antelope Island State Park and finding some birds to photograph the last birds I found and took images of were undoubtedly the ones I had the most fun with.

I spotted a Loggerhead Shrike on a boulder and took a few images of it then moved on to photograph a few dead California Gulls in the same area, they may have succumbed to botulism which isn’t uncommon at this time of the year. The gulls may have fed on some Eared Grebes that may have died from botulism. (Park personnel were notified of the deceased gulls).

While I was photographing one of those gulls I heard a distinct call, looked up and spotted a Loggerhead Shrike perched on a nearby rabbitbrush so we slowly moved in that direction.

Presumed male Loggerhead Shrike allofeeding the female, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, UtahPresumed male Loggerhead Shrike allofeeding the female – Nikon D500, f8, 1/2000, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

After I started photographing the lone Loggerhead Shrike on the rabbitbrush out of the corner of my left eye I caught sight of another shrike to the west perched on a sunflower stalk and I hoped that it would fly in to perch next to the one on the rabbitbrush.

The Loggerhead Shrike did fly in and brought prey to feed the presumed female, during the mating season the males will allofeed the females as part of their courtship behavior. I’ve never been able to photograph allofeeding behavior before so I was tickled pink. Sure, I could wish I could see both eyes of the shrikes, I could wish that I had a catch light in the bird’s eye that we can see but the images I got delighted me even though I didn’t.

Presumed female Loggerhead Shrike close up, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, UtahPresumed female Loggerhead Shrike close up – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1250, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The presumed male Loggerhead Shrike left and the presumed female flew down to the ground so close to where I sat in the “mobile blind” that all I could do was take head shots of her.

Loggerhead Shrike perched on Rabbitbrush in a breeze, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, UtahLoggerhead Shrike perched on Rabbitbrush in a breeze – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1600, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Then she flew back to perch on top of another rabbitbrush and looked around while the breeze buffeted against her. I photographed her until she too flew off.

I’ve got bumps on my scalp from where the nasty no-see-ums bit me up but I have a smile on my face from photographing the interesting courtship behavior of these two Loggerhead Shrikes.

Life is good.

Mia

14 Comments

  1. Sally May 4, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    I’m new to this blog. Thanks Mia ! I will learn a lot and be entertained following your blog. Much Appreciated

  2. Curtis S Andersen April 29, 2018 at 7:06 am

    Nice! Always a great day to get another opportunity to witness some new bird behavior and get some great shots at the same time. Thanks for the pics.

  3. Margot Rawlins April 25, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    These birds are totally captivating and your photos make them even more so. Thanks, Mia.

  4. Pepe Forte April 25, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    Another stunning group of pics Mia. Until I started following your posts…I had never heard of a Loggerhead Shrike. What a beautiful bird! Thanks.

    • Patty April 25, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Mia, You captured it beautifully! I saw this behavior yesterday morning on my back porch. Very interesting to see your post so soon after!

  5. Laura Culley April 25, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    What a splendid series. Love Loggerhead Shrikes and seeing this allofeeding is spectacular! Thank you!

  6. Marty K April 25, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Thank you for “taking one for the team,” bite-wise! These are super shots. I especially like the close-up — she’s a beautiful lady!

  7. Elephants Child April 25, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Hard hearted Hannah over here has just had her heart melted. Thank you.

  8. Patty Chadwick April 25, 2018 at 9:41 am

    An interesting series…love the close up!!!

  9. Heather April 25, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Awesome photographs. I’ve only ever seen this behaviour with cedar waxwings passing berries.

  10. April Olson April 25, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Beautiful and wonderful capture. The portrait is divine.

  11. Patty April 25, 2018 at 7:35 am

    I have a pair of cardinals in the back I’m following . I can get a great view of them from the back porch in the bushes but through a screen. I will have to set up a chair under the trees I think to get a photo of them outside. I have seen this behavior also.

  12. Bob mcpherson April 25, 2018 at 6:52 am

    Cool shots, Mia.

  13. Liz Cormack April 25, 2018 at 5:48 am

    One of the first photos of White-breasted Nuthatches I ever took was the presumed male allofeeding the presumed female in spring. Being new to birding I thought it was normal routine. Not! I have only seen Northern Cardinals allofeeding since then.

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