Northern Shrike

: The Butcher Bird

The Northern Shrike, also known as the Butcher Bird, is a fascinating bird species that lives in North America. This bird is named after its habit of impaling prey on thorns, branches, and even barbed wire fences.

Basic Description:

The Northern Shrike belongs to the family Laniidae and has a unique appearance. It has a grey head and back with white underparts. They have a black mask-like band across their eyes that gives them an aggressive look. These birds are approximately 9-10 inches in length and have a wingspan of about 12-14 inches.

Where To Find This Bird:

During breeding season (May – July), they can be found in Alaska, Canada up to Newfoundland Island; wintering populations are usually at lower latitudes throughout most of the United States.


These birds prefer open landscapes such as fields or tundra where they perch high on trees or poles. They will also live near water sources like rivers or lakes for easy access to food.


Northern Shrikes feed primarily on small mammals like rodents but also sometimes eat reptiles, insects such as grasshoppers & crickets during summer months when available due to their migratory behavior; however this behavior shifts toward small songbirds and other feathered prey items during winter migration when mammalian prey becomes scarce.

Cool Facts:

1) The Northern Shrike’s hooked bill allows it to quickly dispatch its prey by biting through the spinal cord.
2) It occasionally stores extra kills for later consumption.
3) Some individuals migrate thousands of miles from breeding grounds each year just toward better hunting habitats!
4) In addition to being nicknamed “butcher birds”, shrikes may also be called “thornbirds” because of their tendency to impale captured insectivores onto thorns
5) Although they tend not fly much more than normal passerines while hunting, shrikes may take advantage of strong winds to cover greater distances during migration.

The Northern Shrike bird is a unique and interesting species that fascinates birdwatchers and scientists alike. Its hunting habits are truly one-of-a-kind in the bird world, making it an exciting sight to behold. So if you ever find yourself in North America, keep your eyes peeled for this butcher bird perched high on a pole or tree!