Saturday, October 26

new on the menu

We have come to expect our annual backyard visitor's arrival late September or early October. Suddenly, the Pied Fantails move to the empty lot next door, the Eurasian Tree Sparrows disappear and the Olive-backed Sunbirds are wary to visit their favorite ornamental banana blooms.

We have a suspicion that the past couple of years' BBS (backyard Brown Shrike) isn't the same individual we have been welcoming over the past several years, but she is still as formidable a hunter as any.

I have written before about her taste for tree frog , geckos and even cockroaches. Her dietary habits are extremely fascinating! We've also seen it eating earthworms, various insects, and once, a baby tree sparrow! What a way to discover the various creatures living (and finding their death) in the backyard.

Although the kafir lime bush remains a favorite larder, we have been observing it using the thorns of the climbing rose more and more.

Just in time for Halloween, Adri caught it on video devouring a small gecko... still alive! It beats any zombie movie... real life blood and gore.

It was the second gecko we had seen it catch and devour for that morning!

Late this week I spied it picking at another morsel on the kafir lime bush.  Curious to see if it was another unfortunate lizard or a tree-frog, I went closer for an inspection as soon as it left its perch.

It was a tiny snake!  Just a little longer than the width of my hand, it was woven through the thorns and branches to make it easier for the shrike to tear off bits of flesh.

It's head was already gone, and it the shrike had already started picking on its insides.  It had a beautiful golden underside and a bronze upper side.  Something new to me, as I had never seen it before. Drew identified it as a possible Dendrelaphis sp.

Yum. I'm looking forward to discovering other crawlies BBS might have on her menu!  


  1. So cool you are able to see and document the feeding of the Brown Shrike!!! Something great to show my students! =P

    1. Thanks Maia! Adri did a really great job with the video! We're moved that you would share this with your students!