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Wednesday, January 28, 2015


 "Shrike! Shrike!! SHRIKE!!!"  Chip hollered from his office, jolting us out of our e-mail writing, computer screen glow enhanced trances. After a quick scramble for binoculars and cameras, we all went stampeding into his office and crowded around to see a Northern Shrike no more than 10 feet from the window!

Just as I raised the camera to take a picture, the shrike flew to the left and so did we, stumbling over to the next office for a closer view.  It sat there, tail flicking, for no more than 10 seconds before flying down to the feeders in the lilacs.

Still unable to even attempt a photo, we raced downstairs and into the conference room just in time to see the bird flit past a second feeder and around the back of the building.  To the kitchen we migrated but the windows were too dirty for a clear photo so I raced back upstairs to my own office window where I saw the shrike perched atop the burr oak near the kiosk.  There it sat for a solid 60 seconds, turning its head every which way, presumably looking for the next feeder to surprise attack.  After finally being able to snap off a couple quick shots, my racing heart hit another gear as it left its perch and flew directly toward the house and alighted on a branch in the small sugar maple directly outside the office window.

 The stunning black and white patterning on the gray body caught me off guard at this close range as I zoomed out to fit it in the frame.  It looked down at the feeder, then to the barn and then to the right across the road... and off it flew, vanishing around the corner and across the road.


It had only spent a total of 3 minutes zipping around the house but its energy continued to buzz throughout the office the rest of the morning.  I am always amazed at how birds can command our attention so completely and am grateful to work at a place where the staff will drop everything they are doing at the call of "SHRIKE!"

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Ken. This was a lovely image and story.