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Bird Conservation

Loggerhead Shrike Survey

Download the Loggerhead Shrike Survey Form (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Also known as Butcherbirds for their habit of impaling their prey, loggerhead shrikes are present year round throughout Georgia and surrounding states. While some of these birds breed locally, many migrate north to nest. Both local and migratory populations are declining quickly (4.7% annual decline in the Eastern U.S.) and many migrant populations are listed as threatened or endangered. Georgia's shrikes are faring poorly as well (see BBS trends below), however we still have a good opportunity to conserve this species in much of the southeast if we can better understand the reasons for population declines.

Shrikes are usually found in old field/pasture habitats often hunting along roadsides, though they also use mature longleaf pine savanna. Reasons for their decline are nebulous, but may be tied to changes in land use, pesticides, car strikes (they often fly low across roads) or high nest predation rates (due to their habitat of nesting in linear fencerows). Most puzzling is an apparent abundance of seemingly unoccupied suitable habitat. This study is designed to get at some of these questions by more precisely identifying their habitat needs.

Tips on Identification

Make sure you get the right guy. Beginners can mistake mockingbirds for shrikes. If in doubt, make sure you get a good look at the bird before proceeding. If there is any doubt about the birds identity don't fill out a datasheet. It is better to miss a few records than pollute the dataset with mistaken identities.

  • Shrikes are chunky birds with heavy bills and heads, a black
    mask and no neck.
  • Shrikes frequently perch in open agricultural areas most often on
    power lines and fences But careful, so do mockingbirds. With
    a little practice you can pick them out when driving by.
  • Shrikes typically fly low and fast. Their wing beats are shallow
    and very fast for a bird of their size.
  • Both birds have a pattern of white in their wings.

Image credit: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Please help biologists learn more about Loggerhead Shrike populations throughout the Southeast by filling out the Loggerhead Shrike Survey Form whenever a shrike is sighted (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Mail the completed form to:

Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Wildlife Resource Division
116 Rum Creek Drive
Forsyth, GA 31029

For more information, contact Nathan Klaus:  Nathan.Klaus@dnr.ga.gov

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