Large bill with hook at tip
White cheeks, chin and supercilium
Black wings with white wingbar
Long, black tail with white outer tail feathers
Adult: (not photographed)
Faint gray barring on underparts
Distinct barring on the breast
Less distinctive mask
Listen to its call.
This hasn't been a good birding month for me. Between the rain and the wind, I haven't been inclined to venture out much. However, this morning I woke up bright and early, determined to find a new bird for the day. When I arrived at my chosen destination, Panama Flats, I was disappointed to see that it was too flooded to approach without rubber boots, which unfortunately I wasn't wearing. However, as luck would have it, I saw a number of birds along the short path leading from the road.
It was this rather plump fellow's call, which was quite different from anything I'd heard previously, that first drew my attention. However, it was its size and hooked bill that kept it. Eureka! In spite of the conditions, I'd found a new bird after all.
Learn more about the Northern Shrike.
There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.