February 7, 2012 3 Comments
While out birding this sunny morning I came across a Northern Gray Shrike along Chemin Fief near Rigaud. In the field the bird looked normal, although it was high in a tree. I took a few record shots and, on reviewing, found that it has a deformed bill. The upper mandible looks normal but the lower curves upwards in the manner of a crossbill. I have been seeing (presumably) this shrike in the same location since November so the deformity does not seem to be hindering its ability to eat, in fact the additional tool of a hooked lower mandible might actually be more efficient when it comes to dealing with prey.
Interestingly, the Northern Hawk Owl I found in just about the same placea few years ago had a bill deformity too, perhaps they breed the mice tough down there!
Here the are the admittedly not very good shots.