There are a few zoos and parks in the Charlotte area that I visit repeatedly, and every time I go back to one I tell myself the same thing. I am not taking pictures this time. But I do anyways, unable to ignore the compulsion to document every place that I visit with a photo essay.
My last visit to the Carolina Raptor Center was no different. I promised myself that I wouldn’t leave with 40 pictures of birds I have already seen multiple times, and a few hours later there I was, angling for the best shots of my favorite vultures.
At one point I realized I had been left behind by my husband and sister, and hurried around a corner to catch up. I found them in front of a new display housing a new bird, no larger then a sparrow, hopping around on a thin branch. “Who’s this cute little guy?” I asked. “It’s not cute”, my husband solemnly intoned. “Read the sign.”
“Fun Fact” the sign chirped. “We impale our prey!” It turns out the bird was a Loggerhead Shrike, known for killing it’s prey and impaling it on thorns or barbed wire. This allows it to pull prey apart and eat it, despite not having talons. They also use thorns to store their prey in the winter. Thanks to NatGeo, you can watch these little terrors in action in the video below.