Every spring, the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Recovery program brings together a talented team of biologists to meet the needs of a busy field season. They spend their spring and summer scouting for shrikes throughout southern Ontario, searching for nests, and releasing captive-bred young in to the wild. Their work is vital to the success of the recovery program, and we’re grateful for all the work they will do.  I’m very pleased to introduce Wildlife Preservation Canada’s intrepid Shrike Team for 2018!

Crystal Kelly – Napanee Shrike Biologist

Growing up in Windsor, I was fortunate to have a home that backed on to the Detroit river and a sizeable wetland. I spent my summers getting dirty, chasing frogs, and developing a passion for wildlife. When completing my undergraduate degree from the University of Windsor, I took an ornithology course, and fell in love with birding. I completed an honours thesis investigating the effect of lunar cycle on nocturnal avian vocalizations. I also volunteered at the local wildlife rehabilitation centre and helped care for hundreds of injured and orphaned animals. Though I cared for many taxa, the bird room was always my favourite. After I graduated, I traveled to Fort McMurray, Alberta where I surveyed birds on oil sands reclamation areas. Finally, I settled in Peterborough for my Master’s degree in Environmental and Life Sciences at Trent University, and my thesis focused on sandhill crane population genetics. I am thrilled to be a part of the eastern loggerhead shrike recovery team and to be getting back in the field. I look forward to working with an endangered species and furthering my ornithology expertise. I can’t wait to see what the summer has in store!

Grace Pitman – Carden Shrike Biologist

I’ve always had an affinity for wildlife and wild places. Growing up in London, Ontario, I couldn’t wait to get out of the city and into nature whether it be for hiking, camping, or general outdoor exploration. In high school, I volunteered at Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Centre, which was a fantastic learning opportunity where I helped care for injured and orphaned wildlife. I knew from that transformative experience that I wanted to spend my life dedicated to wildlife conservation with an emphasis on threatened and endangered species. I received my BSc in Biological Science from the University of Guelph and spent my summers working either as a naturalist in Provincial Parks or conducting scientific research primarily on avian or insect ecology. I recently completed my MSc in Ecology from the University of Guelph, investigating egg-laying patterns of monarch butterflies and the associated implications for milkweed restoration. I am thrilled to be part of the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Recovery team and cannot wait for encounters with this captivating predatory songbird!

Mandy Shepherd – Carden Field Assistant

I grew up in the city of Mississauga and always felt like I belonged beyond the hustle and bustle of the city. Ever since I was young I would try to learn as much as I could about the wildlife around me, I have always wanted to be a part of something bigger and play a role in environmental and wildlife conservation. I attend Trent University in Peterborough and I am working towards my HBSc in Biology and Environmental Resource Sciences. I will be finishing my degree at the end of next year and can’t wait to get into the field. My plans for my future are to be a wildlife rehabilitator with a working background in wildlife conservation, as well as having some medical background by obtaining a veterinary technician diploma. I would love to have my own wildlife center one day, working to rehabilitate injured and orphaned animals. I am currently a volunteer at the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre and have the privilege of working hands on with the animals. It’s so rewarding being able to watch them heal before releasing them back into their home. I am very excited to be a part of the Loggerhead Shrike Recovery Team, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Kayla Villeda – Napanee Field Assistant

Growing up in Toronto, I have always been surrounded by animals and birds. At home, I own a 15-year-old Peach Faced Lovebird named Petey and in El Salvador my grandmother keeps parrots and doves. This personal interest grew and fed my decision to study Biology in university. From there, a more focused professional interest in conservation led me to study in the Master of Environmental Science program at the University of Toronto, specializing in Conservation and Biodiversity. The culmination of my studies has afforded me the opportunity to work as a field intern in the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Recovery program. I am overjoyed to be part of this program as it further deepens my personal love of bird watching and grows my professional knowledge of hands-on conservation efforts in Ontario. I have previously been a volunteer in numerous field surveys across Southern Ontario, however in being part of this recovery program, I hope that my efforts will have a significant and measurable effect on the longevity of the Eastern Loggerhead Shrikes. I can’t wait to get started and look forward to the challenges ahead.