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Shrike Feeding on a Cave Bat

Kenneth E. Stager
Publication Information
Journal: 
Condor
Volume: 
43
Issue: 
4 (July-August)
Section: 
From Field and Study
Year: 
1941
Pages: 
197

Shrike Feeding on a Cave Bat

On August 15,1937, as the writer and two companions entered a mine tunnel in eastern Riverside County, California, in search of bats, we were surprised to encounter a Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius Zudovicianus) twenty feet within the portal of the tunnel. While birds are often found roosting in the shade of mine tunnel portals, they seldom venture more than five or ten feet within.

The shrike had evidently not noticed our approach, as it did not take flight from the floor of the tunnel until we were ten feet within the tunnel. Taking flight, the bird darted out of the tunnel and alighted on a creosote bush overhanging the open cut in front of the portal. After making certain of the identification of the bird, the tunnel was entered to the point where the shrike had risen from the floor, in order to determine, if possible, what had caused the bird to enter to such a depth.

Upon reaching that point, the beam from a band lamp revealed the half-eaten body of a cave bat (Myotis velifer velifer) , a species known to inhabit this particular tunnel. It was evident that the bat was freshly killed, as the blood was uncoagulated and the remaining portion of the body was still quite warm. Blood was also present in wet smears upon the surface of the rock on which the halfeaten bat lay. How the shrike captured the bat remains unknown.

Kenneth E. Stager

Los Angeles, California, Februury 26, 1941

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