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Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus

Though largely insectivorous, loggerhead shrikes will take prey as large as mice and sparrows. Unlike hawks and owls, which have sharp claws to clutch prey, shrikes impale food on thorns to hold in place while they tear it apart. Occasionally, these songbirds will adorn thorn bushes with several impaled items. Loggerhead shrike numbers are declining continent -wide. Their Missouri breeding population has diminished an average of nearly 7 percent per year for the past 30 years. Changing land use, insecticides and competition with more adaptable species are believed responsible for their decline. -Jim D. Wilson

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