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Belleville Intelligencer

Loggerhead Shrike endangered species
QUINTE CONSERVATION
Posted By INTELLIGENCER STAFF

March 6, 2010

Quinte Conservation is using the Internet to raise awareness about species at risk in our area.

Each month the Quinte Conservation website will highlight a different species at risk.

The featured species for March is the Loggerhead Shrike.

Quinte Conservation stewardship co-ordinator, Alana Bancroft, said The Loggerhead Shrike is sometimes called the "butcher bird." It is a predatory bird that kills and eats mostly insects, but will sometimes eat smaller birds or mice. It often kills its prey by impaling it on twigs and thorns.


The Ministry of Natural Resources said a species at risk is any naturally-occurring plant or animal in danger of extinction or of disappearing from the province. Bancroft said species can become at risk due to habitat loss, pollution, changing land use activities and the spread of invasive species.

"Habitat loss due to intensive farming, reforestation and development has been a major threat to the Loggerhead Shrike in our area," she said.

The Napanee Plain has been designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) due to its significant share of an endangered bird population. In 2005, there were only 11 breeding pairs of shrikes in this area. There are only about 40 breeding pairs in Ontario.

Bancroft said the Species at Risk Awareness Program is to let the public know about the special and unique wildlife species that are vulnerable in our region.

"Understanding species at risk in our watersheds allows us to assess the direction of our efforts in order to improve our management practices for healthy and diverse ecosystems," she said.

Information about each month's species at risk can be found at www.quinteconservation.ca. Quinte Conservation is a community-based environmental protection agency that serves 18 municipalities in the watersheds of the Moira, Napanee and Salmon Rivers and Prince Edward County.