Loggerhead Shrike
Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides

The Loggerhead Shrike is a medium-sized song bird, slightly smaller than a robin. It is a combination of grey, white, and black coloring, with a distinctive black face mask around the eyes and a large hooked beak.

It prefers to live in open landscapes with well-spaced shrubs, particularly shrubs with spines or thorns. The loggerhead shrike can be found in pastures, agricultural fields, and even in farmyards! It nests in dense shrubs, 2.5 to 4 feet above the ground. The leaves, and thorns, give the nest cover and protection from predators. Shrikes begin to arrive in Saskatchewan in early May and begin their journey to the southern United States at the end of August.

This songbird hunts like a raptor. It feeds on insects (particularly grasshoppers and beetles), small birds, small reptiles, and small mammals such as mice. Also known as the “Butcher Bird”, shrikes will impale their prey on thorns or barbed wire before they eat it! Pieces of grasshoppers or mice left hanging on a fence or a thorn are a good indication that a shrike is nearby!

The Loggerhead Shrike is listed as a “threatened species” in the Species at Risk Act, which means that without human intervention they may soon become threatened with extinction.