Breeding Bird Atlas 2 Additional Accounts


Loggerhead Shrike

Lanius ludovicianus

The Migrant Shrike, as it was known a century ago, apparently thrived during the great farming era of the early 1800s, when forests were cleared to make way for crops throughout New England. William Brewster noted one in West Newton in 1872, while stating in 1906 that the species “was known to breed regularly and not uncommonly in many of the less heavily forested parts of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, and sparingly in western Massachusetts” (Brewster 1906). As forests returned, Loggerhead Shrikes retreated south. From the 1940s to the 1970s, the decline was slight, but apparent; after 1970, the Northeastern population crashed. Despite Confirmed breeding in the state as recently as the early 1970s, no Loggerhead Shrikes were found breeding anywhere in the Commonwealth during the Atlas 1 period. Adult Loggerheads were very rarely seen in summer through the 1990s, but the species was effectively extirpated as a breeder in Massachusetts by the time of Atlas 2. Not a single Loggerhead Shrike was reported anywhere in the state during the entire duration of the project.