Quite the gourmand, our brown shrike and i seem to share another of my garden favorites: frogs! Frogs for me to watch (out for), frogs for him to eat! Having a raptor-like beak is not enough for the brown shrike to tear apart its meals: its feet are too small and weak to hold its prey that it has to impale its prey so it can deftly cut up its food into bite-sized pieces. During the Christmas break i espied our nasty little boarder on the kafir lime relishing something bloody on its beak. As soon as it flew off to inspect something else which caught its fancy, I did my own investigating. At first I couldn’t make out what I was looking at…
and then I realized: it was a little tree frog’s head!
I was careful not to disturb our backyard boarder’s crime scene/dinner table and backed off. As soon as I was what the shrike probably presumed a safe distance away, it
immediately came back, looked at me suspiciously and proceeded to finish its meal.
Hmph, did it think I was going to steal its prized catch? (Anyway, I would’ve thought the eyeballs would be very tasty and it really shouldn’t leave the best things for last.)
Feeling stupid for having missed body parts, I made another careful inspection of the thorny bush. Wow, this bird kept quite a larder! There was an entire desiccated frog skeleton hung out to dry! Probably the remains of a previous meal. Such a high calorie diet has fattened up our brown shrike who will be going on its long journey back north in a few months.
The entire affair has added to my list of “why it’s nice to have frogs in the garden even if they jump out at you from nowhere”. (Also another list: “why all the other birds are afraid to come to the garden from September to April”)
King of the backyard patrolling from the clothesline... for now.
P.S. A week later, we were having lunch at the famous Cely’s near the Nepo Mart in Angeles City and one of my cousins ordered betute (dressed frog stuffed with minced meat). I couldn’t help but remember our backyard boarder who prefers frogs on his menu as well.