A beautiful and deadly medium-sized songbird, the loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) is another favorite resident of mine at Panther Island. If you look closely at the tip of its bill you can see a hook. After searching for prey from a perch, these guys use this hook to kill insects, lizards, mice, and even other birds. And they actually have a notch or "tooth" near the tip of the bill that helps sever the spinal cord of its prey! They then impale their prey on a sharp stick, thorn or say barbed wire fence to hold while they tear apart their food. I actually saw a series of four grasshoppers impaled on barbed wire fencing along the perimeter of Panther Island once. This confused me at first until I saw a loggerhead shrike come in and start eating. When there is a store of food like this it is a cache which is unusual. I think it is pretty cool.
During the breeding season, they form seasonally monogamous pairs that will defend a territory. during the winter though they are solitary and defend separate territories. Females incubate the eggs (clutch size ranges from 1-9 eggs) for about 16 days The young are altricial and both parents feed them. They leave the nests after about 3 weeks. They often have 2 broods in a year (sometimes even 3 in the south!). In Panther Island, they seem to prefer nesting in young oak trees.
They are found in habitats where there is a mix of open fields or prairies and scattered trees.In certain areas of their range their population is declining due to habitat loss and insecticide/pesticide use.