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Shrike sighting confirms success of breeding program


June 22nd, 2007


Author: Mary Riley

"There's no question that the recovery efforts are beginning to pay off."

The sighting of the third captive-raised Eastern Loggerhead Shrike in the City of Kawartha Lakes is proving the program's success, officials say.
A healthy male was spotted tending a nest in the Carden Alvar near Kirkfield on May 29.

Wildlife officials say the bird is the third, captive-bred shrike released in 2006 and is the third in as many years to migrate south, return to Ontario and breed in the wild.

Elaine Williams, Executive Director of Wildlife Preservation Canada, said, "I know of no other captive breeding and release program involving a migratory songbird that has seen this much success this quickly."

Bird Studies Canada's Jon McCracken said, "There's no question that the recovery efforts are beginning to pay off. These are truly encouraging results."

The birds, once common in Canada, dropped steadily over the past 50 years; by 1997 only 18 pairs could be found, until Environment Canada established a captive population.

The birds are raised in specially-designed cages in their natural habitat. Sixty-two shrikes were released last year on the Carden Alvar. A total of 12 wild pairs on the Carden site have been confirmed; an increase from seven pairs found in 2006.

Officials credit landowners who provided space for cages and created shrike habitat for a large part of the program's success.