The southwest is being reminded to keep an eye out for the at-risk loggerhead shrikes returning to the prairies to breed after spending the winter down south.

Loggerhead shrikes are a predatory songbird found mainly in southern Sask. during the warmer months and are classified as threatened in Canada.

According to Nature Saskatchewan, their range has significantly decreased and more than 80 per cent of their population has been lost due to loss of habitats, hunting, and environmental degradation.

Emily Putz, habitat and stewardship coordinator for several Nature Saskatchewan programs, hopes to spread awareness about the Shrubs for Shrikes program to help protect these unique birds.

"They have dainty little songbird feet but a hooked bill," said Putz. "We're hoping to gain more information about their population, their range, and how they're doing." 

Loggerheads are perhaps most well known for their method of impaling prey such as insects, smaller birds, or mice on something sharp like a stick.

She noted that thorny shrubs such as buffaloberry, hawthorn, or caragana make ideal nesting sites

"Right now they're setting up their nests, but once they lay their eggs and the babies are out around July, it's important to watch for the babies because they like to concentrate around road sites," Putz added.

Anyone who comes across a loggerhead shrike is advised to report the sighting to Emily Putz by emailing, calling (306)780-9832, or contacting Nature Sask's toll-free number at 1(800)667-2668.