I was headed home on a windy February day a couple of years ago when I happened to see a Loggerhead Shrike perched in a young sapling. Normally when I see one of these, it is perched out of reach for good pictures. This little fellow was being buffeted about by the wind while clinging tightly to his branch out in the middle of nowhere.
These little birds are distinctively marked, their head and back are grey, their breasts are creamy white, and there are white wing patches in a field of black underneath their wings. If you see one up close, the black eye bar and the recurved beak tip are characteristics that tell you you’re seeing a Shrike.
You can see this fellow’s feathers are getting rearranged by the wind. It was a cool day and sunset was coming soon. Notice the curved tip on the upper beak. This little guy is a flesh eating predator. Some folks call them butcher birds because of their habit of storing prey impaled on thorns or barbed wire. This guy just looks cold and put upon.
Loggerhead Shrikes, a.k.a. Lanius ludovicianus belong to the family Laniidae and are found throughout Texas pretty much year round. They range down into Mexico from northern Texas and prefer wide open country with few trees, particularly ones with thorns like mesquite, for spiking the lizards, snakes, mice, and small birds they like to eat. Not bad for a killer songbird, who is not much larger than a sparrow. Read more about this little guy and his relatives here and here.