The New Student's Reference Work/Shrike

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NSRW Shrike.jpg

Shrike, a song-bird found in all parts of the world except South America. Shrikes, besides eating insects, prey upon field-mice and small birds, capturing them with their bills and not with their talons. Owing to the weakness of their feet, their prey is impaled on thorns, and this habit has gained for shrikes the name of butcher-birds. There are about 200 species, but only two in the United States. The great northern shrike, which is a winter visitor, is a little above ten inches long, gray above with a black and white tail and whitish undersurface with black bars. It nests in the arctic circle, but is seen from October to April as far south as Virginia. The loggerhead shrike is common in the Mississippi valley, central New York, Vermont and Maine. It is about nine inches long and colored like the great northern shrike, except that there are no black bars on the breast. Its song is rather unmusical.