Saturday, December 6, 2014

A New Predator Bird

I am a bit upset here.   I just watched a predator northern shrike kill and eat one of the songbirds.  I feel a bit ill.  This was not an instant kill, the little bird was dropped on the ground a couple of times in the process and the terrified peeping brought tears to my eyes.  "Debbie Hairy", our smaller  hairy woodpecker was the first to sound the alarm from the eave of the house near the kitchen window.  When I ran out to see what was upsetting her I saw the shrike making its kill. It had impaled it on a stack of twigs.  When I opened the patio door to see what was going on for sure, it dropped its prey on the ground before picking it up again and flying off with the little bird in its bill before I could get my boots on and get outside; not that there would have been any point to that. There was no hope for the wee bird in its beak anyway and if I interfered then the shrike would probably have killed a second bird to replace the first.

This is the first northern shrike we have had here.  I knew something was up yesterday afternoon when most of the sparrows and junkos disappeared from the yard for the entire day and Debbie Hairy peeped and peeped and peeped.  I am wondering if she had her own run in with the shrike because she sat for nearly 2 hours on one of the nut feeders, under the safety of the eave, completely still, barely making a sound and breathing heavily.  I know she didn't slam into the house because I would have heard her, so now I am wondering if that shrike went after her.

Drat!!  Things have been going so well for the past 3 years with only the occasional small hawk discovering our little bird sanctuary.  I will have to ask my husband what to do now.  It is a bit odd for the shrikes to be this far north, although they do show up on occasion.  Do we dismantle all the feeders and bird bath to try to protect the songbirds or do we hope this shrike is only visiting on its way elsewhere.  Drat again!  

As if there hasn't been enough stress around here of late.....drat again...and again...and again! I am scared for Missy and Wee Robbie and the other tiny woodpeckers...... 

This afternoon was my reminder that no matter how much God influences the course of life on the earth, we are not living in the fullness of the Kingdom yet.  Life and death continue around us, sickness and health, good and evil.  On days like today, when I have been rejoicing in the goodness of God as he helps in the details of my life, I apparently was in need of a dose of the other reality of life on planet earth.  Drat!!

1 comment:

chris e. said...

We had a front row view of a 'kill' at our last house, can't remember what kind of bird the predator was. It too was quite upsetting. Nature isn't all that nice! Something we forget all the time.
I get very irritated when I hear previous pioneer generations being accused of being 'paranoid' about wolves, bears, etc. Imagine being the victim, or seeing a loved one in the predator's grasp.
Oh, and having had pet birds, I would say little Debbie Hairy definitely had a close call with the shrike. Our cockatiels would go into a 'loop,' panting and fearfully looking around for hours after a scare--often a hawk seen outside. We found the only cure was a tiny harmless scare to distract them, like walking up behind them and clapping our hands together. A nice distraction like a treat being held out had no effect whatsoever.