With only 21 breeding pairs in Ontario in 2011, the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike is critically endangered. Although the cause of decline has been largely attributed to conditions experienced on the wintering grounds, we still don’t know exactly where our shrikes go. Therefore sightings of our banded birds are extremely valuable.

Thanks to keen birders in the migration path, as of November 21, 2011, two of our banded shrikes have been spotted and reported to us.

First Spotting:

We were first notified of a banded shrike in early November. This individual bred in Napanee in 2011 and appears to be spending the winter in Delaware. This is one of only two confirmed records of Ontario shrikes on the wintering grounds! Thanks to Chuck Fullmer for spotting this bird, notifying us and sending the above photo.

Second Spotting:

And another one! Luck is with the shrikes this winter as a second Ontario bird was spotted in the US. This time, a banded bird from Carden was found in Virgina Beach, Virgina. Thanks to Elise Enders for sending us this photo.

To help identify shrikes from the Ontario population, each year both wild and captive-bred birds are banded. Shrikes receive a stainless steel identification band, and a unique combination of plastic colour bands that allow field staff and other birders to individually identify the birds. Shrikes that have been released from our captive breeding and release sites wearing geolocators receive a silver ID band plus a red band, while all other captive and wild birds receive a silver ID band and 3 colour bands. Bands are read top to bottom, starting with the bird’s left leg, then top to bottom on the bird’s right leg. Can you decipher the band combinations in these two pictures?