"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Thursday, March 22, 2012

San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike back from brink

San Clemente loggerhead shrike

 The San Clemente loggerhead shrike, once the most critically endangered North American songbird, now represents one of the most successful release and recovery projects on the planet.

The San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research, along with the U.S. Navy and other conservation groups have worked to increase the numbers of the Channel Island subspecies, the San Clemente loggerhead shrike. This small, critically endangered songbird is found only on San Clemente Island, and as recently at 1998, the wild population was only 14 birds.

The zoo's captive-breeding program was initiated in 1992. Techniques to hand-rear small songbirds were perfected, behavioral monitoring programs to assess mate compatibility and track breeding activities were conducted.  In 1999, the zoo's efforts led to the first captive-hatched released shrike to survive and breed in the wild.  Since then more released shrikes have also joined the wild, and they and their descendants have grown the wild population to 70 breeding pairs producing hundreds of offspring each year.

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