Call Me Vlad
One micey. Two micey. Three micey. Four—
He stopped, stock still, on the gleaming barbed wire fence. The fourth spike was empty. Where was four micey? He’d hoisted the carcass up just yesterday. Miceys did not just get up and walk off the spikes. Not after he’d chewed off their little micey heads.
A victorious squeal from the undergrowth revealed the fate of four micey. A black-tipped tail flashed through the dandelions as an opportunistic stoat made off with the largest morsel in the larder.
No matter. Tomorrow, there would be more miceys to catch.
Every other Sunday I’ll be publishing a drabble about, or from the perspective of, a bird. This week’s bird is the shrike. If birds were the size of some of their dinosaur forebears, you’d rightfully be worried about raptors such as hawks, eagles and falcons. However, perhaps after reading about the shrike, you’d bump it right to the top of your ‘avoid’ list. The shrike is a small, carnivorous passerine (the order of birds which also includes sparrows and robins). Lacking the talons of birds of prey, it hunts by pouncing on its victims from above and lifting them up to the thorns of trees or spikes of barbed wire, where it impales its live meal. It can then tear them apart at its leisure using its sharp, curved beak. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a colloquial name for this tiny killer is butcher bird. They’ll hunt small mammals, other birds, as well as insects such as bees and toxic locusts.