Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 62

Northern shrikes will kill birds larger
than themselves, such as mourning doves
and blue jays. In the winter, they also hunt
meadow voles and white-footed mice.
Although we kept looking, we didn't
see the shrike again until Feb. 9. It was
31 degrees at dawn and the ground was
covered with a light snow that had fallen
overnight. I headed out at 9 a.m. As I
ambled along Butterfly Loop toward
Margaret's Woods, I paused to admire the
snow-covered landscape. A bird, its tail
twitching, was perched on top of the same
catalpa tree across First Field where Mark
had last seen the shrike. At first, I thought
it was a crow, but through binoculars I
could see it was the shrike.
Mark was off birding at the Far Field,
but soon he and his brother Dave joined
me, and we all had a look at it. It would
be our last of this elusive boreal songbird.
But it surely had enlivened what had been
a dull winter for birds, since neither northern finches nor red-breasted nuthatches
had irrupted from the north.
Northern shrikes also are irruptive
songbirds that breed in the shrubby north,
from Labrador and Quebec to western
Alaska. Many migrate south annually

to southern Canada and the northern
United States during late autumn and
early winter. Every three to six years, their
numbers peak, and they can be found as
far south in the Mid-Atlantic states as
Virginia.
Most years, at least some northern
shrikes are observed in Pennsylvania,
especially in the northwest. They prefer
to hunt open brushy fields, which
describes our First Field, as well as farm
fields and orchards. They might also
hang out near bird-feeding stations to
catch songbirds.
Last winter, only four northern shrikes
were found during the statewide Christmas Bird Count (CBC) and three during
the 2020 Winter Raptor Survey (WRS),
which is held from mid-January until midFebruary. The WRS shrikes were reported
in Warren, Clarion and Butler counties.
The closest reported shrike to us was at
Bald Eagle State Park during the CBC.
Irruptive northern shrikes have not been
well-studied, but sometimes they maintain
large territories of several hundred acres.
Otherwise, they wander widely.
The largest recorded irruption of northern shrikes in North America happened in
the winter of 1995-96, but in Pennsylvania, it was the state's third-largest, with

Cover Painting by Mark Anderson
Sunlight has just started to filter into a patch of hardwoods somewhere in
Pennsylvania on this frosty January morning, when the hunter hears hooves
crunching through the layer of crusty snow, then sees this monarch amble into
view. No doubt heading to a nearby thicket to bed, the buck stops to check its
backtrail. A mistake, unless the hunter's flintlock rifle misfires, or buck fever
sets in. To see more of Mark's work, visit his website MarkAndersonArt.com.

62


http://www.MarkAndersonArt.com

Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 16
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 31
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 33
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 40
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 50
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 56
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - Cover4
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