“Certain that the Spanish galleon was riding low in the water due to chests full of gold doubloons in her hold, the captain of the privateer kept his swift vessel hidden behind a mangrove island and waited for the time to strike.  His crew was armed to the teeth and lusted for blood and treasure……”

Oh, wait.  It’s not that kind of butcher.

Loggerhead Shrike

Lanius ludovicianus.  The Loggerhead Shrike.  “Lanius” is Latin for butcher and shrike likely comes from the “shriek” the bird makes.  Thus, the “Shrieking Butcher”, or more commonly, Butcher Bird.  To further warrant the moniker, the shrike typically impales his prey (insects, small mammals) on a thorn, barbed wire of a fence or sharp branch to hold it while it “butchers” it for a meal.

This particular “butcher”, or Loggerhead Shrike, was actively hunting in an area on the south side of Tampa Bay known as Cockroach Bay.  A reserve opened to the public here late last year and I’ll be reporting on it in the near future.

We found this predator on a late afternoon drive and I was able to get a few images of the hunt, capture, impaling and butchering process.

(NOTE:  Some of the following images are graphic, but Nature can be really messy when you’re trying to survive.) 

(Click the picture for larger images.)

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Sorry for the misleading introduction!  Life is so much more thrilling than fiction!


Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit.

See more birds at:   Paying Ready Attention   (Check out Wild Bird Wednesday.)

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , | 24 Comments

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  1. The Shrikes are cool birds. Great series of photos.

    • Eileen, thank you for visiting! I love watching Shrikes in action or just sitting on a limb. Handsome bird! Glad to hear you weathered The Storm okay.

  2. Beautiful looking Butcher bird.

  3. TexWisGirl

    such tough little birds! beautiful, though! thanks for sharing and for stopping by, too!

  4. Anonymous

    Great shots and post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  5. Great captures. I might have seen that little bird over here on the east coast of Florida.

    • Maurizio, thank you for visiting! The Loggerhead Shrike is fairly common in Florida but has been declining in much of the country, especially open farmland areas. I was lucky this one let me observe it for so long.

  6. I enjoyed your introduction!
    Excellent captures of the dining scene! Yes, nature is what it is.

    • Carletta, thank you for visiting! I appreciate your comments but don’t worry, I won’t be publishing any novels anytime soon!

  7. Great shots of this butcher bird – i have never seen this one around here ;-D Thank you for stopping by my waxwings ! Greetings from Liva in northern norway

  8. Hi Wally and thanks for visiting my blog. I am returning the compliment and pleased I did so to see your super shrike pictures. All the shrikes I have ever seen behave in a somewhat gruesome manner but hey that’s life and no one can say the shrike family aren’t attractive birds.

    • Phil, thank you for visiting and for your nice comments! We just have to take Nature for what it is, violent and beautiful at the same time.

  9. tingsgrove

    Geesh, I looked all around trying to find the comment area;’) I think Shrikes are really beautiful and your images certainly depict that well~

  10. Great pictures – we have butcher birds in our garden – not at this time of year – but I’ll try to get some pictures soon!

    Thanks for linking to WBW.

    Stewart M – Australia

    PS: I think I shot two whole rolls of film (how long ago!) on a belted kingfisher for a return of zero!

  11. Great photos of an interesting bird. We have several ‘butcher birds’ in Australia with similar habits.

  12. Great picture of the “dining” shrike! Really interesting. I once posted a pic of an alligator eating a turtle, so yeah, that’s life and ….
    Take care of Florida..we’ll be back in December.

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