Date: 1/26/18 8:13 pm
From: Thor Manson <thormanson...>
Subject: Re: [AZNMbirds] Almost No Sinaloa Wren
Hi again birders: Ken Blankenship and I have been corresponding about my sighting of a Loggerhead Shrike/Sinaloa Wren encounter this morning. What I didn't realize initially is that he posted his first e-mail to me on the listserve as well, which, of course, is perfectly fine. Since he asked me a few questions about this sighting in this e-mail, it is probably appropriate that I reply here as well.

I acknowledge everything Ken said about the shrike, but, to be honest, at the time, I didn't think the situation, other than actually witnessing the event, was all that unusual. As Ken says, and as I am sure everyone who has walked this trail has noticed, there is a large " agricultural field " in close proximity to the Santa Cruz in this area. What I neglected to tell Ken in my e-mail was that there was considerable small bird activity in the leaf litter that included the wren. Initially I had trouble picking out the wren as one second I would be looking at the wren, and then, with a little shuffle, the next second I was looking at a Song Sparrow. I remember commenting to a fellow birder that there was a lot of movement in that understory. To me, it would not be inconceivable that a shrike sitting on the fence line in fairly close proximity to this activity would notice the movements, and come in to investigate. Of course I am just speculating.

After the wren temporarily disappeared behind a log, it seemed that the other few birders in the area were satisfied with their look and moved on. I, on the other hand, was trying for a photo, so I tried to stealthily move around to the other side of the log which was adjacent to the previously described brush pile. I did pick up the wren again, and it was at this point that the shrike moved in for a try at the wren. There is no doubt, ( in my mind anyway ), that this was a shrike. I have noticed Northern Mockingbird in this same area, but this was not a mockingbird. Although I was interested in photographing the wren, my first objective always is to get an i.d. on the bird(s), and then take the photo second. As this action occurred very quickly I lost my chance for a photo, although I did get some pics later on of the wren in the location further down the trail. To the best of my knowledge, no one else witnessed the interaction between the shrike and the wren.

So, ultimately, as in all of these single observer situations, without photos, the observation, and the resulting report is what it is. I doubt very much I will ever see that kind of action between those two species again. And as I said before the really good news is that the wren lived to see another day.


Thor Manson

Green Valley, Arizona


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