The Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Program team in the Napanee alvar in eastern Ontario has been busy the last few weeks not only monitoring wild shrikes, but also preparing to receive the conservation-bred juveniles to be released to the wild. Our partners at African Lion Safari, Toronto Zoo, and Mountsberg Conservation Area care for populations of loggerhead shrike in their facilities. In the spring these birds mate, incubate eggs, and hatch offspring, just as the wild birds do. These hatchlings stay with their parents until they become juveniles, and are old enough to be separated and brought to release enclosures in either Carden or Napanee. The juveniles will spend about two weeks in their release enclosures acclimating to their surroundings and the alvar habitat. The enclosures are a safe and comfortable space for the birds, where they can continue to learn the skills necessary to survive in the wild. Each enclosure has a variety of different perches, cover, and objects on which to impale prey. The shrikes will be fed a mixed diet of invertebrates and small mice, so they can practice hunting. Watch the short video for a tour of one of our release cages. We will be keeping you updated on the status of our upcoming releases, so stay tuned!
` Nicole Wajmer, Napnaee Shrike Biologist