The Loggerhead Shrike epitomizes the dire conservation status of many grassland birds. Loggerhead Shrike populations have undergone a drastic decline, shrinking 76% since 1966 (according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey), and the species is now rare in portions of its former range, even where apparently suitable habitat still exists.
Although it is still fairly numerous in the southern and western United States, the Loggerhead Shrike has been listed as a priority species on more than two-thirds of State Wildlife Action Plans — federally funded plans developed by each state to protect wildlife and habitat before they become too rare or costly to restore. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers the Loggerhead Shrike to be a Bird of Conservation Concern, and the San Clemente Island subspecies (L.l. mearnsi) has been federally listed as endangered since 1977 (42 FR 40685; August 11, 1977).
The Loggerhead Shrike is listed as threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act in western Canada, and endangered in eastern Canada, based on the recommendation of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Because shrike populations in Ontario are genetically distinct from other Loggerhead Shrikes, COSEWIC has recognized this population as a unique subspecies as a unique or “designatable unit.”, provisionally called L.l. alvarensis. The Loggerhead Shrike is also listed as endangered on provincial lists in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and it is listed as threatened in Quebec.
The Loggerhead Shrike is not listed in Mexico (Commission for Environmental Cooperation 2000), and no additional information on the status of the species in Mexico could be gathered in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2000 Status Assessment.
Given the broad-scale decline and migratory nature of Loggerhead Shrikes, a tri-national initiative is clearly needed to identify the threats facing Loggerhead Shrikes and to save this unique species.