Shrike Pair and Hawthorne
Robert Bateman Signed Limited Edition Print 12.875″ x 26.25″
Edition Size: 950
“Although I am a great supporter of wilderness, an important part of my psyche has a strong pull toward the hand of man interacting with nature. However, this must be traditional human activity, not the modern industrial variety. Many of the happiest hours of my childhood were spent roaming old pastures. Abandoned ones were preferable because there was less chance of being charged by a bull or attacked by a stallion. Old pastures gave a perfect mixed habitat for variety in nature.
A common tree species was the hawthorn or thorn apple which gave great protection for nesting birds. In spring the small of hawthorn flowers fills me with joy of that season, and in fall the red berries not only look decorative but provide food for many species. Hawthorns have also always been associated with shrikes. The shrike’s nickname is ‘butcher bird’ because of its tendency to impale prey on a thorn.’
The Northern shrike population has declined drastically despite appropriate habitat being available, and is now down to 30 pairs nesting in Ontario. No-one is sure if the decline is due to pesticides or some problem with its wintering habitat in Florida and Texas. Natural predation plays somewhat of a role as does vehicular mortality (since they tend to nest near roads) but in a healthy population this would be of little consequence.” – Robert Bateman
(From the original painting Shrike Pair and Hawthorne – 1998 – 16″ x 24.25″ Oil on Board)