Nashville Zoo is a participating member of the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Working Group, which was formed in 2013 and is composed of many state, federal and non-government entities. The Zoo has been working closely with the Shrike Working Group to identify research, conservation and management priorities in the soon-to-be-finalized Loggerhead Shrike Conservation Action Plan.
Among these priorities is the implementation of a collaborative loggerhead shrike trapping and banding project across the species’ breeding and wintering range in the Southeast United States. This project will help researchers evaluate the shrike’s migration, population dynamics, and habitat. The unique color combinations of the bands allow biologists to identify individual birds that are re-sighted.
Nashville Zoo staff, alongside other local researchers, have been surveying and monitoring loggerhead shrikes in Middle Tennessee since 2013, and have successfully banded more than 20 shrikes. Each individual was banded with one standard USGS band and 3 plastic color bands (2 bands per leg) and released at the capture site. In 2015, one individual was also outfitted with a transmitter that tracked the bird’s movements for six weeks in order to create a map of its territories.
In 2016, the Zoo received four captive shrikes from Wildlife Preservation Canada for a migratory urge study. These birds now live on the Zoo’s property where the Avian Department cares for them and studies how they utilize their habitat during the different seasons. In 2019, the Zoo hatched two loggerhead shrikes as part of this cooperative program. After hatching, the chicks were transferred to Canada and released at the Carden, Ontario field area.
By monitoring wild populations and studying captive birds, we hope to learn more about the components of a suitable shrike habitat so that we can better manage land and provide recommendations to landowners on how they can ensure their land is a shrike-friendly habitat.