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It’s clear that shrike numbers are dropping. To address shrike declines, we need to better understand the factors driving those declines, as well as gain more insights the full annual life-cycle population dynamics and the connections between different populations within and between seasons.

 The Loggerhead Shrike Working Group’s research activities focus on a few key priorities:

  • surveys to locate key breeding areas

  • banding to uniquely mark individuals

  • feather sampling to assess population connectivity

  • monitoring site use and reproductive success

Shrike populations are scattered and vary in size. We use standardized research protocols to ensure the data we collect is consistent and comparable, allowing us to better understand those populations and the differences between them. This, in turn, will help us assess the threats shrikes face — both locally and range-wide — and determine how best to mitigate them.  

Current priorities:

  • landowner engagement, which is critical to the recovery and long-term sustainability of the species

  • conservation breeding, which is an important strategy in the northeastern United States and Canada

Future priorities:

  • analyzing the supply of suitable habitat

  • determining sustainable population size and demographics

  • assessing the characteristics of habitat patches and territories to develop Best Management Practices

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Other important research areas include: 

  • furthering our understanding the causes of shrike population declines

  • investigating migration routes, stopover areas and wintering areas

  • determining how susceptible stopover and wintering areas are to human disturbance

  • evaluating shrikes’ dietary needs, throughout the annual season

  • evaluating how weather, season, land use and pesticides affect the availability of food

  • determining the rates of mortality of adults and juveniles throughout the year in different habitats

  • identifying the factors contributing to mortality and causes of decline in different areas and within different age groups