NORTHERN SHRIKE(Lanius borealis) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Northern Shrike male has a grey head and back, and white under parts. Wings are black with white patches. It has a black mask. The upper mandible is curved as in raptors. Female and juveniles have duller colors. Length of bird is around 23 cm (9 inches). There are several subspecies.
NAME: The English name ‘Shrike’ is an onomatopoeia for the bird’s call. The Latin genus name ‘Lanius’ means ‘butcher’. This bird is also called ‘Butcherbird’ due to its hunting habits.
HABITAT: Open country in the taiga.
DIET: Perches on top of trees or posts to catch insects on the fly (see ‘Impaling Prey’ below). Also preys on small rodents, birds and reptiles.
NESTING: The nest is built in a shrub or tree. Four to eight light grey eggs are laid, incubated by female. Chicks fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds in the Canadian and Russian taigas. Small year-round population in Northern China, also along the west coast of North America down to northern British Columbia. Winters in the remainder of Canada and contiguous USA (except the south), also eastern China and Hokkaido, Japan.
ON PEI: Rare or occasional occurrences on Prince Edward Island.
CONSERVATION: Population would be around 9 million, difficult to assess due to remoteness of habitat. Not currently considered at risk.
Impaling prey: Shrikes are predatory birds that kill prey by impaling them on a sharp stick or a thorn. They then use the thorn as a support to tear the prey into small biting pieces. They also kill more prey than needed immediately, and use the thorns as a food cache.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Loggerhead Shrike, Northern Mockingbird
REFERENCES: (Ontario Field Ornithologists)

Northern shrike, rare in winter – Dec. 31, 2016 – by Matt Beardsley
Northern shrike, Matt Beardsley, Dec. 2016
Northern Shrike, immature – Brackley Pt. Road, PEI – Mar. 10, 2018 – © Matt Beardsley
Northern shrike immature, Matt Beardsley