Back from the Brink: The Shrike Recovery Project at Mountsberg

The Shrike recovery project is aiming to bring this endangered species back

Conservation Halton and our project partners have embarked on a very exciting project this spring, one that aims to bring an endangered species back from the edge of extinction. We are starting the Shrike Recovery Project at Mountsberg Raptor Centre to help bring the endangered Eastern Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicanus migrans) back from the edge of extinction in Canada.

To do this, we will be building a captive breeding facility so we can stabilize the population by releasing captive-bred Loggerhead Shrike hatchlings into the wild starting in 2012. Currently facing a continent-wide decline, Eastern Loggerhead Shrikes are already locally extinct in Quebec and New Brunswick. Without intervention, this bird, a raptor-like songbird native to our community, will likely no longer be found in the wild in Ontario.

This spring, Conservation Halton started building a captive breeding facility at the Mountsberg Conservation Area. In late summer, we will receive six breeding pairs of shrikes. They will spend the winter at the facility and breed in May of 2012, after which time we hope to release shrike hatchlings into the wild at locations across the province.

You can help ensure the success of this project, and bring the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike back from the brink, by making a donation to the Conservation Halton Foundation. The project’s fundraising goal is $125,000 and to date we’ve raised over $100,000. We’re almost there, and you can help us reach our goal.

To make your donation to the Mountsberg Shrike Project, call the Foundation at (905) 336-1158 extension 255, or you can make your gift online through– keyword Conservation Halton Foundation.

Conservation Halton is partnering with the Canadian Wildlife Service, the Toronto Zoo, Wildlife Preservation Canada and the Shrike Recovery Program to house and breed Eastern Loggerhead Shrikes.

About the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike

Named for its disproportionately larger, or “logger” head, the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike is a medium-sized grey and white songbird, slightly smaller than a robin with black on the wings and tail and a black raccoon-like “mask” across its eyes. It is the only truly predatory songbird, using its slightly hooked beak to dispatch mice, voles, grasshoppers, beetles and other small prey. It is also unusual in the way it stores its food on thorns and barbed wire because it lacks strong talons or claws for grasping the prey it has killed. Originally the range of the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike extended from
Manitoba to New Brunswick and as far south as northeastern Texas, western North Carolina and Maryland. Today,
Eastern Loggerhead Shrikes are found in small isolated pockets in Manitoba and Ontario.


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