Shrike chicks destined for a flap into the wild

Loggerhead shrike

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in the United States has hatched ten loggerhead shrike chicks.

Loggerhead shrike

These birds who are endangered in the US will be the first SCBI hatched chicks that will return to the wild. Once the chicks grow off they will move to the Toronto Zoo to participate in their reintroduction project.

Three sets of parents hatched these chicks with the three nests hatching on May 3, May 7 and May 8. Keepers have been monitoring them and observing that they are growing properly.

Loggerhead shrike

Currently the SCBI houses 22 loggerhead shrikes. Seven chicks were hatched by three pairs last year. Scientists at the SCBI are hopeful that more chicks will hatch in a few weeks as the parents are capable of having more than one clutch per breeding season.

Populations of these birds have decreased 70% with just 100 remaining in Virginia. 26 states list them as endangered and they are currently being considered for the Endangered Species List. Currently the SBI is working throughout Virginia and West Virginia to determine a cause for their sharp decline.

Loggerhead shrike

These small birds feed on grasshoppers and lizards which they have impaled on thorns or barbed wire. They are also referred to as butcher birds.

Photo Credit:

Chris Crowe, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Warren Lynch, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Chris Crowe, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

By Cale Russell is a testament to Cale’s commitment to the education of people around the world on the topic of animals and conservation, through the sharing of topical and newsworthy information.

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