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Susan taught me the finer points of shrike differentiation--I  
particularly remember a lesson in west Kansas in which she explained  
the points as we were watching a Northern Shrike.  I was such a new,  
inexperienced birder that even as she went through the points and I  
nodded agreement/understanding, I didn't feel I could count that  
bird--just didn't feel as if I really could i.d. it myself.  I'm  
still looking for a Kansas Northern Shrike, by the way.

I agree with and use both Bob's and Susan's i.d. points/process--the  
more we have to work with the better our chances of arriving at the  
correct i.d.

The Northern never on a power line, though, was proved less-than-100%  
true with the bird that appeared near Thomas Hill a few years back.   
I saw it one day and mentioned it to a respected Columbia birder,  
asking if a Northern could/should be up there and sitting on a power  
line.  It was considered unlikely.  A year or two later, IN THE SAME  
SPOT, I found a shrike sitting on the power line.  This time I looked  
very carefully--it was definitely a Northern.  I raced back to  
Columbia, we gathered up a van load of people and raced back in time  
to confirm a Northern Shrike--sitting on the line.


As to Merlins never perching on utility lines--there may be some  
truth to that, BUT one must consider the DIAMETER of the line/cable.   
In south Texas I've observed several Merlins on utility cables-- 
cables that are greater diameter than the old standard power line.


On Bill Clark's weekly CACHE site visit outing today we found a  
Eurasian Collared-Dove just west of Dairy Farm Lake (pond) #3--a  
state first for Bill, and the only bird there.  The Mute Swan was on  
the big pond on the south side of US 40 a little west of DFL #3.

Bodacious birding!

Edge Wade
Columbia, MO

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