The natural world is not always a kind place, and shrikes are brutal birds. Yesterday, Mark and the children were sitting on the couch discussing the Great Backyard Bird Count and they began talking about shrikes. I was trying to write in another room, but really I was eavesdropping. Mark had taught me about shrikes before, but they're so incredible that I had to listen in. Because their talons are not very sharp, shrikes must skewer their meals onto sticks, hawthorn spikes, or barbed wire in order to eat.
If you would like to see a shrike eating a chickadee, you can do so here. If you would like to see a shrike eating a junco, visit here.
Last weekend, Georgia awoke early and sat at the front window by our feeder, making extensive notes about each bird's eating habits. I wondered if some of her thinking came from our recent reading of THE ROBIN MAKES A LAUGHING SOUND by Sallie Wolf and Michael Borstein, a charming poetry book filled with sketches, watercolors, and little listy notes.
Our family has never participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count before, but we plan to do so this year. Running the week of February 18-21, this event is meant for children and gives a snapshot of which birds are where during these four days. Last year, 11,233,609 birds were counted. I wonder how many were counted more than once!
Take a look here at GBBC website to learn more about how to participate and how to learn more about the birds that live in and travel through our own skies. I once read that most third grade American children know more rainforest animals than they know backyard birds. Here's a way to change that.
For anyone who is wondering, yes. We do have a snow day today.
(Please click on POST A COMMENT below to share a thought.)