My recently acquired hobbies of blogging and photography have made me far more aware and curious about what is going on around me. Especially in our garden and out on our walks. About a month ago I saw a “new” bird in our garden. By “new”, I of course mean that it was one I could not identify. Some very blurry photos and a vague description, resulted in a friend suggesting that it might be a young cuckoo. He suggested trying to find out which birds this one was “hanging out with”. At first I thought that the pair of Fiscal Shrikes (Lanius collaris) in our garden were attacking it, but after a while I realised that they were looking after it. Our bird identification books had photographs of similar looking young cuckoos . . . but not quite.
Eventually I was able to get this clearer photograph of the young bird, and something made me tap in “Juvenile Fiscal Shrike” on Google. And there it was! Except for the very distinctive beak, it really doesn’t look like its parents does it? It’s also behaving a little like a cuckoo – is very demanding of its parents, and not popular amongst the other birds in our garden.
Maybe the other birds know the reputation that the Fiscal Shrikes have. They are commonly known as “Jackie Hangman or Butcher Birds due to [their] habit of impaling [their] prey on acacia thorns to store the food for later consumption” (Wikipedia article). We don’t have acacias with thorns in our garden, but I’ve watched these birds impale worms on any sharp stake-like twig they can find. Quite gruesome!
I wonder what will happen when this baby grows up. Will it leave our garden – or just set up home in another corner of it? And if it stays, will it torment Lucy (our cat) as much as its parents do? Lucy just needs to set a paw outside of the house, and they start to shriek at her. Then they follow her as she does her rounds of our property, continuing to make a racket and warning any living creature that there’s a kitty on the prowl!