Shriking News


In July of 2012 while Judy was visiting relatives in Winnipeg I decided to go for a bicycle ride down to our local beach, Petrie Island. In Ottawa at that time we were suffering a heat wave and drought so beaches were certainly getting a real work out! When I reached the beach after a 20 minute ride I immediately noticed a large crowd lining the beach just off the water line. I locked my bike and headed down to see what this was all about.

To my amazement there were hundreds of birds floundering in an obvious attempt to get out of the water and on to dry land! They didn't seem to have use of their legs and instead were employing their wings in an awkward manner, to drag themselves along, evidently incapable of flying! The crowd was hushed as were the birds. Obviously nobody had any idea what to do!

I retrieved my bike and headed home at top speed! The birds were not local products and when I checked Wikipedia I determined they were Shrikes. Here is a picture of two of them:

I knew my son Dan was a bit of an expert in this area so I immediately called him on his cell phone. I tried to explain what I'd witnessed, but we had a poor connection. Dan suggested I sing my query as the higher frequency would be easier for him to understand.

So, I placed the phone in front of my face like a microphone and proceeded to sing:


" Oh Danny boy, the Shrikes, the Shrikes are crawling ... "