“Mystery on the Prairie” is the fourteenth episode of the third season of Wild Kratts, originally airing on PBS Kids on July 10, 2014. Overall, it is the 80th episode of the series. The episode was written and directed by Chris Kratt.
In this episode, Jimmy tells his teammates that he noticed something disturbing at a thorn bush. The Kratt brothers decide to investigate it, and when they arrive, they find several small animals impaled onto thorns. It turns out that the one responsible is a predatory songbird called a loggerhead shrike, and the investigation leads to another creature called the cowbird, which is a nest parasite that lays its eggs in loggerhead shrike nests.
The episode begins with a live action segment. The Kratt brothers are close to a herd of bison, discussing about an animal that stays even closer because it relies on the bison for food: the buffalo bird. Afterwards, they ask their “What if?” question and the show transitions into the cartoon segment.
The Tortuga needs to take off because a herd of bison are nearing it. Jimmy, the pilot, finally arrives and faints, mentioning something weird near some thorn bushes. The Kratt brothers, intrigued, head off in their Buzz Bikes. Right after, the bison surround the Tortuga.
The Kratt brothers find the thorn bush, which has several dead animals speared on its thorns. To find out what animal did this, they decide to miniaturize and wait for it to come. They climb up a rock, where they see a bird taking a prairie kingsnake to the bush after killing it. Another of the same kind of bird beats and subdues Martin, and it takes him to a tree where he is speared upon a thorn. After running a scan, Chris finds out that the bird is a loggerhead shrike. Martin tries to un-spear himself, but is unable to, leaving him to name the bird that speared him Spike. Chris decides to return to normal size to rescue Martin. To sneak his way through the bison herd, Chris dons a thorn bush as a disguise.
A cowbird jumps onto the branches where Martin is speared, releasing him, and causing him to end up in a bird nest where he notices an egg that has a different color compared to the rest. Martin convinces Aviva to make the animal’s Creature Power Disc. Jimmy activates the teleporter and receives a feather from Martin, and Koki finds out the feather came from a loggerhead shrike. With this feather, Aviva finishes a Loggerhead Shrike Disc. Jimmy teleports it to Martin, who activates his Creature Power Suit just after the mother shrike arrives. But instead of transforming into a shrike, he first transforms into a shrike egg. After a while, Martin hatches out of his egg. All the other chicks hatch as well, including the one from the different-colored egg. Koki finds out that the chick is a buffalo bird, and afterwards, Martin names the buffalo bird chick Moo, and the shrike chicks Thorn, Spear, and Spike Jr. While the adults find food, Martin calls Koki and Aviva, saying that they have to get him and Moo out as fast as possible. They head in towards the bush and drop a rope down, and Martin grabs onto it as he holds Moo. However, Chris finds out that cowbirds are nest parasites, and Moo was not accidentally laid in the nest. Martin and Chris both realize they need to correct their mistake by becoming Moo’s new parents (which appears to worry the chick).
Sundown approaches, and the Wild Kratts summarize their adventure. Chris is still in his bush and Moo is above his head in his own nest. Martin, an adult loggerhead shrike, feeds Moo something. The Kratt brothers then groan after realizing that they have to wait for a few weeks before the chick matures.
The show transitions into the ending live action segment, in which the Kratt brothers find a loggerhead shrike nest. Afterwards, they conclude the episode by saying “Keep on creature adventuring; we’ll see you on the creature trail!”
Key facts and Creature Moments
- Buffalo birds lay their eggs in other birds’ nests.
- Although called ‘nest parasite’, another term for animals who lay their eggs in another animal’s nests is ‘brood parasite’.
- Uroxys mites and are among several of the insects speared on the thorns by the shrike.
Pictures don’t have the right order!