First year Northern Shrike on the Carden Alvar

First year Northern Shrike on McNamee Road on the Carden Alvar, 29 March 2013. It was alert and hunting from a small tree.


Northern Shrikes, like Loggerhead Shrikes, have two molts a year. In March and April, first winter Northern Shrike molt into first breeding plumage. The above first year Northern Shrike appears to have replaced vermiculated throat feathers with mostly white feathers, and its bill is changing to black. It is becoming greyer in appearance, though first year Northern Shrikes vary from drab brownish to lighter grey, often tinged with brownish.