Where The Wild Things Are- First Time Visitors

 Some times it feels like the best source of entertainment is my bird feeder. A little seed and suet and the circus comes to visit. Blue Jays come, eat all they can hold, and then leave. Juncos, Goldfinches and Chickadees are either constantly eating, or constantly being replaced by others of their sort. It is impossible to tell one from the other. Woodpeckers, usually Downy and Hairys squabble over the suet feeders, eating the sunflower seeds while waiting their turn to dart in and score some suet. The Pileated come in stealth mode, hiding behind tree trunks until he (she) deems it safe to come in. The slightest hint of danger and off they go again. 

There is always a debate in the bird world about the correct way to say pileated. Some say it is pie lated, others prefer pill e ated. It seems that if you know Latin, or have friends who do, that pil is the way to go. I have to wonder if using a dead language, that no one actually speaks, for basing a verbal pronunciation on is a good idea. I know that some people "speak" it now, in churches, and scientific communities, but as a society language I believe it only lived on in written form for a long time. So we are just guessing how they would of said it. Add in a midwestern American accent, and who knows? Maybe we should just name it the Pterodactyl Woodpecker. Another Latin word we can (or not) pronounce.

The other day I had a first time  visitor to my feeders. I looked out and there was nothing to be seen. This usually means a predator has come by, looking for it's own food buffet. Sometimes it is a hawk, sometimes a cat. That day it was a Northern Shrike. A Robin sized bird, with rather plain grey, white and black plummage, it doesn't seem that remarkable. But the little birds fear it just as much as the larger dangers. It swoops in fast and furious and grabs small birds and rodents. It doesn't just hunt when it is hungry, it stockpiles it's prey for later consumption by impaling it on thorns. Not the prettiest sight to see when out for a wintery stroll. There is another shrike, around in the summertime, that does the same thing, the Loggerhead Shrike. In all my time out walking I have never noticed any of these impaled bird kabobs. The Shrikes are not numerous, and like any predator, they have their territory which they don't like to share. This is only the third Shrike I have seen in my life. So if you see a robin sized bird, and find yourself thinking "That was a weird Blue Jay" you may have seen this elusive creature. Now to go out looking for bird or mouse kabobs....