🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Jacky Hangman

My morning prayer :
“Bless the flowers and the weeds, my birds and the bees.”

This is a page from one of my Nature Journals - Watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm Watercolour Sketch-book - 12" x 8" - Maree©

The Fiscal Shrike has been a busy little lady, filling up her larder in one of my Celtis trees - this morning I found a Finch fledgling spiked through one of the thorns on the tree and Jackie was sitting close-by, keeping a watchful eye on me.

I love my Shrikes living in my garden and they know when I approach the feeding tables that it's snack-time. I have a special feeder just for them, where I fill a pine cone with mince and suet, their favourites.

They provide me with hours of pleasure, watching and sketching them as they either sit in the top of an old dead tree or swoop down suddenly, landing on target of some tasty morsel. They are cheeky and precocious, harassing other birds no end, making sure their territory is clear of competition for food. They are also not past raiding nests, often taking newly hatched nestlings, much to my consternation as I helplessly watch.

The Fiscal Shrike is also named 'Jacky Hangman' due to its habit of impaling its prey on Acacia thorns to store the food for later consumption. In my garden they also use the White Karee, which has thorns all along it's trunk when it is young. My Fiscals often spike grasshoppers, small lizards and even mice on these large thorns and they also use the barbed wire and the spikes on top of the palisade fencing.

One of the Shrike's larders in the Celtis africana

Camera: Kodak C195 Digital


  1. I just found your blog and I love your nature art!

  2. Aaaah Sandy! Thanks a lot and I'm so glad you like this blog! Your Nature Place and Sketches and Messes are great! And I really appreciate you popping in to take a look!

  3. I love your watercolor painting. I had no idea a bird would stake his food like that!

  4. Hi Margaret, it's amazing you've never seen this before! Don't you have any shrikes in North Carolina? But unless one is looking for it, their larders are actually very hard to spot. Thanks for popping in!



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