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Southwest Sask. supports shrikes this spring – SwiftCurrentOnline.com

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The Southwest is reminded to watch for the endangered loggerhead shrikes, which return to the prairies for breeding season after winter in the South.

The loggerhead shrike is a predatory songbird found mainly in southern Saskatchewan during the warmer months and is considered endangered in Canada.

According to Nature Saskatchewan, their range has shrunk significantly and over 80 percent of their population has been lost due to habitat loss, hunting and environmental degradation.

Emily Putz, habitat and care coordinator for several Nature Saskatchewan programs, wants to raise awareness of the Shrubs for Shrikes program and help protect these unique birds.

“They have dainty little songbird feet but a curved beak,” Putz said. “We hope to get more information about their population, their range and their status.”

Loggerhead turtles are perhaps best known for their practice of impaling prey such as insects, small birds or mice on a sharp object such as a stick.

She found that thorny shrubs such as buffalo berries, hawthorn or caragana are ideal nesting sites

“Right now they're still building their nests, but once they lay their eggs and the young come out around July, it's important to keep an eye out for the young because they like to stay near roads,” Putz added.

Anyone who encounters a great grey shrike is encouraged to report the sighting to Emily Putz by email at [email protected], by phone at (306)780-9832 or by calling Nature Sask's toll-free number at 1(800)667-2668.