Friday, June 22, 2007

Loggerhead Shrikes

We're wrapping up our twelfth season of studying a breeding population of Loggerhead Shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus) on the Crooked River National Grasslands here in central Oregon. These rather predatory songbirds are declining in many parts of their range, and most all other studies of which I am aware have dealt with populations that were failing (and some of which have since been extirpated). The real impetus, then, for our long-term study, has been to understand the demographics and attributes of a healthy, stable population. So we (my family, employees, and friends) have spent part of each spring and summer capturing and banding adult shrikes, locating and measuring nests, and following them through incubation, nestling period, and fledging. We've come to know quite a bit about them, some of which I may tell you from time to time--they're fascinating creatures.

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