Northern Shrike bird in Rocky Mountain National Park

Northern Shrike: The Butcher Bird

In the winter months, a very cool migrant bird visits Rocky Mountain National Park and the Estes Park area. It’s the predatory songbird known as the Butcher Bird or the Northern Shrike. The Northern Shrike eats insects, small reptiles and even small mammals. The reason for the moniker of “Butcher” is an amazing behavior of caching its extra kills by often impaling them on spikes, spines, and even bared wire much like a butcher hanging meat to age.

This seemingly sweet grey bird is a hunter just like a Red tailed Hawk so be sure to watch the bushes in the meadows for this sweet little killer.

Written by Jared Gricoskie, a private guide for Estes Park tours
Yellow Wood Guiding

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