Black-capped Chickadee (in mid-air)
As I was out doing my afternoon chores:
feeding chickens, bringing them some hay for the floor,
gathering eggs, digging out the snowy barn door,
and feeding the cats,
I decided to take a little walk.
It's snowing this afternoon, rather beautifully with no wind.
Along the way I noticed this Long-eared Owl. I'm not sure I've seen one in real life before. I didn't have my camera at the moment, so I just enjoyed watching him. While walking home, I spied another bird that I was unsure of. I tried to snap a picture of it in my mind so I could try to find it in my field guide. The many chickadees were flitting here and there at the feeder, all "dee-dee-dee-ing" back and forth to each other as I walked in the garage to fetch them some more sunflower seeds. Then I had an idea to grab my camera and walk back out. Maybe I could snap a picture of the birds so I might identify them.
Lucky me, the Long-eared Owl was still on his perch and he allowed me a couple snaps. Isn't he a beauty? I'll say! The unknown bird became more evident when I looked at my photos and saw the hooked beak. It looks like a Northern Shrike, but kind of not. Then I saw the juvenile photo in my guide, and that nailed it. He's a young one! I've seen the Northern and Loggerhead Shrikes in the summer here, but I don't know that I've ever seen one in winter. They are listed as "scarce" in the Peterson's Field Guide to North American Birds. I'm so glad I took a little time to go walking despite the cold 6 degrees and snow. It was well worth it. Now I'll have a good cup of black coffee and a treat.
Have you been seeing any unusual birds or animals around your place? Do tell!