Skewered: Food On a Stick (At Home and In Nature)

If you are on Facebook, you have seen the reminders of what you were doing 5 years ago on this day… I loved the reminder of the time I went on a birding adventure with my kids and a student teacher from my daughter’s elementary school…

It was glorious, and I saw 4 “life birds,” which is bird-nerd-speak for “birds I have never seen before.”  We saw a Merlin chasing after a Northern Harrier, got a show from a beautiful Ferruginous Hawk, saw a dancing display from the Sandhill Crane, and had a fly-by from a Tundra Swan.

But the most exciting part for the kids was finding evidence of the Butcher Bird.  No, it’s not really called that.  But the Loggerhead Shrike has deserved its nickname.  You see, it doesn’t have a sharp enough beak to tear into its prey.  So, it skewers them on thorns and barbed wire, and saves them for later, when they are good and rotten.

Yeah, I know, this isn’t a nature blog.  But seeing the shrike’s food got me thinking…People love Food on a Stick!  I thought I could show you how critters in nature do it, and then give you some ideas for more suitable people fare.  (If nature movies make you queasy, you may want to avert your eyes as you scroll down for some human-appealing versions of skewered foods…)

Loggerhead shrike prey: animal equivalent to food on a stick

Cricket – Impaled for Later by a Loggerhead Shrike, AKA the Butcher Bird

Loggerhead shrike prey: animal equivalent to food on a stick

Lizard – Skewered and saved for later by a Loggerhead Shrike, AKA the Butcher Bird

Ideas for People-Food on a Stick:

Oven-Baked Corn Doggies
By Michelle Stern, What’s Cooking with Kids

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup flour for dusting sausages
2/3 cups of yellow corn meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2/3 cups milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 precooked sausages, hot dogs or veggie dogs


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  4. Make a well in center; add milk, eggs, and oil. Mix just until combined.
  5. Insert a popsicle stick into one end of each sausage, leaving a 1 1/2 inch handle.
  6. Dust with flour; dust off excess.
  7. Using handle, rotate each sausage over bowl as you spread the batter. Batter will be thick, so don’t be afraid to use your fingers to spread, if desired.
  8. Bake 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

If you homeschool your kids, you might want to have your children learn about the Shrike for science, and then come up with some of their own ideas for Food on a Stick!  Please let me know if you try this – I’d love to hear how it goes!

The thumbnail image for this post is Brie Pops for Valentine’s Day. I took this photo at a holiday party chez Jennifer Carden.

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5 Responses to Skewered: Food On a Stick (At Home and In Nature)

  1. Very interesting! Those oven baked corn dogs sure do sound good… Though, I’m not sure I can say the same for the lizard and the cricket! 😉

  2. Kia says:

    Awesome post Michelle! I am totally fascinated by the way the butcher bird skewers their food!!!! Brilliant…I can’t wait for my daughter to get home from school and show her this!

    We love food on a stick…we usually make Rainbow Fruit Skicks or Rainbow Salad on a stick 🙂 It’s such a fun way to eat!

    Thanks again for another great post!

  3. Hmm, the animal version of food on a stick just doesn’t seem quite as appetizing as the human one, funny the similarities though.

  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE the photos and the recipe…corn dogs are one of my all time favorite foods.

    My appetite thinks I’m five.

  5. Lili says:

    Just love your posts. Reading these ideas for food on a stick helps me to get my creative juices flowing. Thank you once again.

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