Masked bandit

maskedbandit.jpg 

When this guy shows up anywhere near the feeders, the songbirds disappear for quite a while. This is a shrike, and shrikes like to collect songbirds. They snag them and if they are not yet dead, they impale them on a sharp object. In the summer, they do the same with grasshoppers. They leave them there for a later meal. Notice the nasty flesh-tearing hook at the end of the beak. What I find most amazing is the innate ability songbirds have to know this feathery ball is a threat.