The Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes the northern shrike thus:
A predatory songbird, the Northern Shrike breeds in taiga and tundra and winters in southern Canada and the northern United States. It feeds on small birds, mammals, and insects, sometimes impaling them on spines or barbed wire fences.The bird we'd seen soon disappeared from the wire and we saw it much closer to us on the snow at the near side of the road. It returned to the wire and then again to the same spot on the ground, where we suddenly realized it had prey. I couldn't tell, but Dave says the animal was still alive when he first saw it. I was lucky enough to catch these three photos of the bird with its prey, which looks like a vole.
Be sure to click on the photos to see them larger.
Then, while I was trying to switch my camera to the quick-burst format (great for capturing birds in motion),but before I had accomplished it, the shrike picked up its kill and we watched it fly away low over the field until it disappeared into the distance. We were quite impressed by how far it flew without stopping, bearing such a load.
This was quite an amazing encounter and I am thrilled to have captured this fascinating bird in action.