Declines in loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) populations have been associated in part with habitat loss and degradation, including that resulting from urbanization. We monitored the productivity and examined nesting habitat of loggerhead shrikes nesting in an urban environment in Tucson, Arizona. We located 22 breeding pairs in 1997 and 26 breeding pairs in 1998, with a 72% breeding area reoccupancy between years. Mean fledgling numbers were 2.28/ nesting attempt and 3.11/successful nest. Although some pairs initially failed and renested, 91% and 73% of shrike pairs successfully fledged young in 1997 and 1998, respectively. Mayfield estimates of nesting success were 78% in 1997 and 65% in 1998. Nest sites were characterized by more trees >3 m in height, taller nest trees than those randomly available, and a greater proportion of bare ground surface than at random sites. Shrike breeding territories had lower proportions of residential and commercial development and greater proportions of open areas with low-growing vegetation than randomly available. Some shrikes nested in school playgrounds, residential front yards, and parking lots, if adjacent open space was available.
Additional publication details
Productivity and breeding habitat of loggerhead shrikes in a southwestern urban environment