Saturday, November 20, 2010

Northern Shrike at Malden Park

Click for larger view

Wow, what an exciting lifer! This beautiful bird is #214 on my life list.... spotted after 1.5 years of birding. I almost dropped my camera when I realized what I was looking at!

I learned about this bird during a Mid-Summer walk that I took with the Essex Field Naturalists group in 2009. The group leader (his name escapes me) told us that Northern Shrikes could be heard singing at Malden Park during the Winter if they 'erupt'. A local birder posted a sighting about 1-2 weeks ago and this encouraged me to come out and find it for myself.

This morning was relatively quiet at Malden Park. I saw the usual suspects: American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, Downy Woodpeckers and Dark eyed Juncos. I was on my way out of the park and figured I would check a small stand of evergreens for a Saw Whet Owl. Then I heard a warbling bird call I've never heard before so I checked out a 'lump' in a nearby tree with my binoculars. Sure enough, this masked northern- butcher-watchman was perched about 50 ft from me! These are the moments that birders cherish. I'm new to birding but this just seems like a very rare bird in Windsor. How exciting!

Anyway, I used a nearby evergreen as a blind and took a bunch of photos and left him alone to continue hunting for food. Hopefully this bird overwinters here! More info on the Northern Shrike can be found here: (right click, open in new tab)

Good birding!

PS: If you stand at the top of Malden Park's hill in West Windsor and look due West, you will see "Zug Island" which is a steel refinery on the American side of the Detroit River. This along with chemical plants and Oil refineries are within 5KM of west Windsor. It dawned on me only in my 20's that these plants were positioned so that the downwind communities were Windsorites that (I'm guessing) had little input on the location of these plants. Brighton Beach is the white box in the left-bottom of this photo. The new DRIC Bridge crossing will be just to the left of Brighton Beach Power Generation offering nice views to international travellers.


  1. I still have not seen a Shrike this year! Where are they? Send it this way!

  2. I should have noted that we went to Malden Park during the butterfly count in July. Quite a view from atop the hill!

  3. Nice! Can't wait to see my first shrike! I think there are a few around here in Ottawa now but maybe more come later on in the winter. They're on my "to try and find this winter" list.



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