Loggerhead Shrike Working Group Meeting

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Loggerhead Shrike Working Group Meeting

Nashville Zoo continues their work in loggerhead shrike conservation by hosting the Loggerhead Shrike Working Group this November.

Loggerhead Shrike

The loggerhead shrike (Lanius Iudovicianus) is a carnivorous, grassland songbird and is often referred to as “butcher birds” because they capture prey with their sharply hooked beaks feeding on large insects, rodents and even smaller birds. There are two species of shrike found primarily in the Southeastern region of North America.

Population Decline

Loggerhead shrike are in need of protection and rehabilitation as their population status has shrunk 75% since 1966, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. There are many reasons for the decline in loggerhead shrikes from loss of habitat on breeding and wintering grounds, pesticides, vehicle collisions, competition with other species and loss of habitats.

Working Group

The Loggerhead Shrike Working Group met last month and representatives from Wildlife Preservation Canada, Southeastern Avian Research, Department of Natural Resources from West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, Phil Miller from the International Union of the Conservation of Nature, and (of course) Nashville Zoo were in attendance. This working group has been collaborating since 2013 to better understand the factors behind population decline and to ensure the long-term survival of the loggerhead shrike.

Discussions at this annual meeting focused on the management of shrikes in the wild, specifically the Eastern United States, through methods like research, project planning, population management, threat assessment, future plans and more. During this meeting, our Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Heather Schwartz demonstrated how to get field blood samples from a loggerhead shrike. There was also a demonstration on how to attach a Motus tracker, a technology that uses radio telemetry to help track birds that are too small for satellites.


This ongoing collaboration of like-minded professionals has allowed for strides in loggerhead shrike research and helping to protect and understand this species. Nashville Zoo has been able to monitor local populations and provide land management recommendations and develop relationships with landowners nearby. 

Learn more about loggerhead shrike conservation at Nashville Zoo.

Posted by Nashville Zoo at 09:47

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