In early August I prepared a post about my yearly visit to buy 250 lbs of bird food. Well , here we are less than 5 months in the future and I am already running out. My little backyard visitors have been hungry and are spreading the word to their friends it seems.
This entailed a drive to Caledon east.
At this rate, I should be back here in April.
En route, on a country road, I spotted a robin-sized bird on a wire and stopped to have a look. Mourning Dove? Kestrel? I was pleasantly surprised … a Northern Shrike.
This species visits southern Ontario only in winter while spending the summer in the Hudson Bay and James Bay lowlands.
If they catch too much prey (mice or small birds), they have been known to impale the catch on a thorn for future use.
Near the feed store there is a former railway track which has been converted into a nature trail:
I had a good though slippery walk here:
To the cold December heaven
Came the pale Moon and the stars,
As the yellow Sun was sinking
Behind the purple bars. – Charles Dawson Shanly (1811–75)