Silly bird. Hiding your eyes behind a ninja turtle mask won’t make you invisible …
I suppose the purpose must be to conceal its identity from oblivious and uninformed birdwatchers like me.
I saw quite a few of these pretty birds in the spring but up until today I didn’t know what they were. They are loggerhead shrikes — a threatened species. I was surprised and saddened to hear about their status.
Not secretive at all, I have frequently seen them perched on lamp posts and trees watching everything that goes on around them. The startle distance is about the same as for a mockingbird. This one in particular was adorably curious — it even flew toward me to see what exactly I was up to. If only I had a fat juicy bug to reward its bravery! (note to self …. )
They are excellent fliers. Watching them hunt is breathtaking. They don’t seem to attack other birds; they target grasshoppers and their ilk. And that I assume is the source of their survival issues: death from poisoning. They’ve actually been extirpated from at least one state. I hope they can continue to find a safe refuge here in Austin. I already thought they were delightful but now I appreciate their presence even more.
For more information about their gruesome hunting habits, songs and more I invite you to check out Cornell’s All About Birds site.