[CT Birds] Northern Shrike

greg hanisek ctgregh at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 14 11:42:28 EDT 2012

>From Greg Hanisek
3/14 Watertown, Bunker Hill Road - c 10:30 a.m. adult NORTHERN SHRIKE in a scrubby field 1+ miles west of Rt 63 adjacent to Windy Ridge division. 
It's worth noting that we're now entering the period when Northern Shrikes will be leaving, and it's not inconceivable that we might get one of the rarest eastern nesting birds that may pass through CT, the Loggerhead Shrike. In other words, look at all gray shrikes very closely. A small nesting population persists in Ontario, and there may still be some in N.Y. state's St. Lawarence Valley, although apparently recent efforts to confirm them as breeders in NY have not been successful. These birds belong to the subspecies "migrans," which in older (like 1950s and 60s Peterson) field guides was know as the Migrant Loggerhead Shrike. Peak migration time for this form is mid-March to mid-April. But the last well-documented CT record was May 22, 2000 at Groton-New London Airport. The later in spring it gets, the less likely a shrike will be a Northern. Northerns rarely linger into early April. I've only ever seen 2 in April, both in 1996 after a huge winter
 irruption. Separation of adult Northern from immature Loggerhead can be tricky. David Sibly has a very good analysis of a problem bird on Long Island in 2010. Googling "A perplexing shrike" along with "Sibley" should get it.

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