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2nd Place in the Your Best Wintering Bird Challenge in the Songbirds of North America Group

Featured in “Live, Love, Dream” October 2010
Featured in “The Birds” October 2010

A Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor) perched on a teasel at the Nanaimo River Estuary, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada in November

A predatory songbird, the Northern Shrike breeds in taiga and tundra and winters in southern Canada and the northern United States. It feeds on small birds, mammals, and insects.

The latin name of the Northern Shrike literally means “sentinel butcher”: Lanius is the latin term for a butcher and excubitor is latin for a watchman or sentinel. This relates to the birds two most conspicuous behaviours – impaling prey on thorns or barbed wire fences and using exposed tree-tops or posts to watch the surrounding area for potential prey.

Canon 40D
1/1600sec f6.3 ISO 400
500mm lens + 1.4x converter


british columbia, great grey shrike, northern shrike, predator, songbird

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  • main1
    main1almost 4 years ago

    Beautiful! Great info too :O)

  • Thank you very much Marleia!

    – Martin Smart

  • KathleenRinker
    KathleenRinkeralmost 4 years ago

    Fabulous capture Martin!!

  • Thank you very much Kathy!

    – Martin Smart

  • Russell Couch
    Russell Couchalmost 4 years ago

    Wonderful capture very nice

  • Many thanks Russell!

    – Martin Smart

  • Bunny Clarke
    Bunny Clarkealmost 4 years ago

    Great capture. These move so fast.

  • Thanks very much Bunny!

    – Martin Smart

  • Sandy Stewart
    Sandy Stewartalmost 4 years ago

    Wonderful lighting on the bird and thistle adding pop against the darker soft background! Until this photo, I had never seen a Northern Shrike and also didn’t realize they were on Vancouver Island. Lovely work Martin! : )

  • Glad you like it Sandy and thanks very much for your kind words. I often see them at the Nanaimo River Estuary…worth a visit next time you’re up this way!

    – Martin Smart

  • icesrun
    icesrunalmost 4 years ago

    Precious capture!!

  • Thank you so much Ciana!

    – Martin Smart

  • Isa Rodriguez
    Isa Rodriguezalmost 4 years ago

  • Many thanks for the feature Isa, very much appreciated!

    – Martin Smart

  • AndreaEL
    AndreaELalmost 4 years ago

    Congratulations on your wonderful feature, brilliant work and well deserved.

  • Thank you very much Andrea, appreciate your comments!

    – Martin Smart

  • Debbie  Jones
    Debbie Jonesalmost 4 years ago
    beautiful pic well done
  • Thanks very much Debbie!

    – Martin Smart

  • Eeva47
    Eeva47almost 4 years ago

    Great photo!

  • Thanks very much Eeva!

    – Martin Smart

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