As August ended, field activities began to wrap up for the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Recovery program. Although 2020 field work was cut a bit short due to the current health situation, loggerhead shrike had a successful breeding season in Napanee, Ontario. Here is a short list summarizing final totals for the season:

  • A grand total of 11 nesting pairs were located during site surveys
  • Ten of those nests successfully fledged young
  • A total of 28 fledglings were confirmed for the Napanee region
  • Overall, 25 adult loggerhead shrikes were located during site surveys
  • Eleven of those adults were banded from previous years
  • Seven of the banded adults originated from the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Recovery Conservation Breeding program
  • Four new wild adults were banded during the 2020 field season

Despite our efforts, some of our habitat surveys were fruitless this season and no loggerhead shrike were detected. However, it is hard to be disheartened when greeted with views like this!

Loggerhead shrike sightings by the public

Although we have teams of biologists out in the field surveying for loggerhead shrike, sightings reported by members of the public through our Adopt-A-Site survey volunteers and landowners are also an important tool for the recovery program. This is especially important in areas where shrike have not been present for several years. We wish we could have our eyes and ears everywhere, but alas we are not gods but mere biologists!  

This summer there were four reported sightings of loggerhead shrike in the Napanee region by members of the public. All four sightings were of birds that were later confirmed as breeders and nests were located for those individuals. These sightings helped field staff prioritize survey locations and contributed important data to the program.

Spotted! A loggerhead shrike seen during habitat surveys through a spotting scope.

Valuable discovery

One sighting by a landowner this summer led to the discovery of a breeding pair on a site where loggerhead shrike had not been present since 2002 and where a breeding pair had not been confirmed since 1999. Additionally, the individual that had been flagged was a female that was born in 2018 and originated from our conservation breeding program at the Toronto Zoo. The sighting of this banded female provided valuable information on its survival, demographics, and movements since its release in 2018. In 2019, the female was found nesting on a site over 14 kilometers away from where it was found nesting this year. This shrike has been on the move!

The sighting of this bird also provided insights on the success of the conservation breeding program and how it is contributing to eastern loggerhead shrike recovery in Canada. To think, all this valuable information would not have been known if it were not for the keen eyes of one of our landowners!

The Loggerhead Shrike Recovery team would like to thank all those who reported sightings this season; your extra set of eyes and ears were invaluable!  If you see a loggerhead shrike please do not hesitate to report your sighting to Wildlife Preservation Canada by calling 1-800-956-6608 or emailing admin@wildlifepreservation.ca.

From the loggerhead shrike and me, WPC’s summer field biologist in Napanee, that is a wrap— thank you for following along with us this season!      

Eliza-Jane Morin

Napanee Field Biologist – Eastern Loggerheaad Shrike Program

Eliza has been working in the field of avian conservation for over 5 years. Her work experiences have brought her from the Peruvian Amazon to the prairies of Southern Alberta. Most recently, she completed a master’s degree in Coastal and Marine Resource Management in Iceland.