Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jackie Hangman

My morning prayer :
“Bless the flowers and the weeds, my birds and the bees.”

The Fiscal Shrike has been a busy little lady, filling up her larder in one of my Celtis trees - this morning I found a Finch fledgling spiked through one of the thorns on the tree and Jackie was sitting close-by, keeping a watchful eye on me.

I love my Shrikes living in my garden and they know when I approach the feeding tables that it's snack-time. I have a special feeder just for them, where I fill a pine cone with mince and suet, their favourites.

They provide me with hours of pleasure, watching and sketching them as they either sit in the top of an old dead tree or swoop down suddenly, landing on target of some tasty morsel. They are cheeky and precocious, harassing other birds no end, making sure their territory is clear of competition for food. They are also not past raiding nests, often taking newly hatched nestlings, much to my consternation as I helplessly watch.

The Fiscal Shrike is also named 'Jacky Hangman' due to its habit of impaling its prey on Acacia thorns to store the food for later consumption. In my garden they also use the White Karee, which has thorns all along it's trunk when it is young. My Fiscals often spike grasshoppers, small lizards and even mice on these large thorns and they also use the barbed wire and the spikes on top of the palisade fencing.


  1. You found a finch fledling spiked on the thorns? Hoe very very sad! The shrike can be so cruel!

  2. Carnivores CAN make us squeamish...lovely observation though.

  3. I should've taken a photograph Marie, but my digital camera needs a service or something, won't go on even with new batteries. Yea, nature is cruel, maar die een se dood is die ander se brood! Thanks for the visit!

  4. It certainly can Kate, and it's the HARDEST thing not to intervene!

  5. Even though the shrike's larder is a little morbid, I envy you having one so close. I always feel fortunate when we find a shrike.

    Nice sketch and observations.

  6. Love this page, Maree. Nature can be tough - but then so can we humans.

  7. She has larders in various places Elva, some I spot easily, others are fairly well hidden. I feel extremely blessed that she has made a home in my garden!

  8. Oh yes PJ! and, unlike we humans,Nature has a pretty good reason, SURVIVAL! Pleased you like it, thanks a lot!


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