Public asked to report location of Loggerhead Shrike
Nature Saskatchewan says the Loggerhead Shrike, a beautiful but deadly songbird, is out and about in Saskatchewan for the summer.
The Loggerhead Shrike is a songbird that makes its home Saskatchewan's southwest. The birds are more visible this time of year because their young will be hatching and the parents will be hunting more to feed them.
Rebecca Magnus with Nature Saskatchewan says the animal is noteworthy not only because it's a threatened species but also because it has a habit of impaling its prey from barbed wire fences, bushes, and trees.
"They don't want to lose it, and because they can't keep it in their bill the whole time or their feet, I guess, to feed off of it they'll hook it onto something and then they can pick away at it."
She says the behaviour resulted in a colourful nickname: the Butcher Bird.
The birds hunt prey that is smaller than they are, like grasshoppers, beetles, garter snakes, mice, voles, frogs, and sometimes other birds. Magnus explains they will often lay out a long line of food to create a display that will entice females. When the young begin to mature, most likely in early July, they too will leave the nest and learn to impale their own prey.
The birds can be identified by the unique spots of white on their otherwise black wings and by their distinct vocalizations.
"They have this shriek and that's their alarm call," Magnus says.
"If you get too close to them or their nest they'll make this high-pitched shriek and that's often what most people will associate with the Loggerhead Shrike."
She adds that the birds can usually be spotted as close as a half hour from Regina to the south and west.
Nature Saskatchewan is bringing the Shrike to people's attention in the hopes that they will report the location of the birds when they're spotted.
The Loggerhead is a threatened species and keeping track of where they're nesting ensures that they can be protected from land development.
Anyone who sees one is asked to report its location to Nature Saskatchewan by calling 1-800-667-4668.
Edited by News Talk Radio's Karin Yeske.