Loggerhead shrikes skewer their prey for later eating

January 19, 2016, 7:48 a.m.

Different bird species come up with all sorts of interesting ways to save food for later. Last week we reported on news that falcons were found seemingly keeping birds prisoner for later eating! But there's another species with a savvy strategy for making the most of a meal.

The loggerhead shrike is known for skewering prey on barbed wire, sharp twigs and other items for impaling. But it's nothing sinister, just practical.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology writes, "Lacking a raptor’s talons, Loggerhead Shrikes skewer their kills on thorns or barbed wire or wedge them into tight places for easy eating. [They] impale noxious prey such as monarch butterflies and eastern narrow-mouthed toads—then wait for up to three days to eat them, which allows time for the poisons to break down."

If you're a loggerhead shrike, skewering your catch is a smart strategy for being able to dine on otherwise inedible prey. As long as no one steals your spiked food when you're not looking, that is!


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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.