Shrubs for Shrikes
Nature Saskatchewan launched Shrubs for Shrikes (SFS) in 2003 to protect the threatened Prairie Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides) habitat from destruction and cultivation, monitor population changes, and increase awareness of the shrike. As of 2018, 241 public and private landowners and land managers participate in SFS, and together are conserving over 45,000 acres (18,287 ha) of nesting and foraging habitat.
Participants voluntarily agree to conserve prairie habitat, including shrubs, homesteads, shelterbelts, and pastures for Loggerhead Shrikes and other prairie species, while using their land as they always have. Participants annually report the number of shrikes on their land and any changes in land use.
If you are a Saskatchewan landowner with Loggerhead Shrikes, you play an important role in this species’ survival. Every nesting site is important to the shrike population and will help to keep this beneficial and intriguing bird a part of our prairie heritage.
Where are Loggerhead Shrikes found?
The Loggerhead Shrike, or butcherbird, was once found throughout the prairie provinces in the mixed and moist grassland, aspen parkland, and southern boreal plain. It ranged from the Manitoba-Ontario border in the east, the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the west and Slave Lake in the north. The shrike has disappeared from many parts of Manitoba and Alberta, and northern parts of its range in Saskatchewan. Loggerhead Shrikes are now primarily found in grasslands and southern aspen parklands across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the southeast corner of Manitoba.
For a detailed distribution map please go to:
Please note that this distribution only refers to the Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies and not the Loggerhead Shrike in general.
How are Loggerhead Shrikes faring?
The 2015 Recovery Strategy for the Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies in Canada reports breeding bird survey data from 1970-2012. This data shows a 3.05% annual rate of decline in Saskatchewan’s shrikes. Between 1993 and 2013, Environment Canada’s recovery team monitored Prairie Loggerhead Shrike numbers in Canada every five years, and saw a 71% decline in Saskatchewan’s numbers. In 2013, the report estimated that there were 70 individual shrikes in Manitoba, 39,600 individuals in Saskatchewan, and 15,000 individuals in Alberta
What habitat do Loggerhead Shrikes need?
Loggerhead Shrikes inhabit open grassland with scattered shrubs in the southern parts of the province. They nest in thorny shrubs (such as hawthorn and buffaloberry) and shelterbelts found in pastures or cropland. Shrikes use prominent dead branches, telephone poles and fence posts to perch on while hunting for prey. Important habitats for their potential prey include ungrazed or lightly grazed grassland, ditches, riparian areas, as well as abandoned farmsteads, golf courses and cemeteries which may also be used for nesting. Loggerhead Shrikes are a sit-and-wait hunter. When prey move into adjacent open grazed areas, the shrikes are able to see and capture them more readily.
For more resources on Loggerhead Shrikes please visit our resources page
For more information on the benefits of stewardship, please visit our Stewards of Saskatchewan page
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