A Brown Shrike in Halifax
The authoritative published account of this appearance of the Brown
Shrike appeared as:
Foxall, Roger & Ian McLaren: A Brown Shrike in Halifax, Nova
Scotia: First for Canada: Birders Journal 1998. 7(1): 32-36.
Foxall and McLaren included a very detailed description of the bird
and an account of its behaviour and observations here. Their conclusions
(after considerable discussion) were that:
- It thus appears that the Halifax bird was an adult, with the limited
flank barring (several sources) and perhaps grayer sides of crown
suggesting a female.
- The Halifax bird seemed to have characteristics of both L. c.
cristatus and L. c. confusus. This somewhat indeterminate
status was conferred on a Brown Shrike overwintering in California after
it obtained adult plumage in the spring (Bailey et al. 1987).
- The bird's somewhat worn and possibly moulted rectricies need not
reflect prior captivity or confinement; flight feathers of
cristatus and confusus may not be renewed until they reach
- Although the bird appeared quite close to a container-ship terminal,
it is unlikely that it arrived in Halifax by ship. Although direct
shipping from Europe (to Halifax) is routine, only two Brown Shrikes are
known to have reached western Europe. Reverse migration in eastern Asia
could have brought the bird to Alaska, thence to eastern North America.