As many other long distance migrants, the Lesser Grey Shrike didn’t do well this breeding season in Spain. In contrast with the historic results of the 2017 season, we didn’t have any breeding pair in 2018, although a minimum of six birds (including two males) came back to Lleida from their winter grounds in Southern Africa.
Everything seemed to start very well, with the first birds showing up on 8th May onwards, extremely early for the species in NE Spain (they usually arrive by the end of May or begining of June). It happened the same with its cousin, the Red-backed Shrike, as both of them migrate through Eastern Europe instead of using the Western Mediterranean route.
But the extremely rainy and cold spring in Spain and in Lleida in particular didn’t help to the LGS. After several weeks with no males, the females dispersed. The two males arrived later, one of them defending a territory in a place where the species doesn’t breed since the early 90’s and the other one even later, just when the first juveniles were released. So too late to breed…
About to end the season, 95 juveniles born in captivity have been released by hacking and the work now is focused in equipping some of them with data-loggers as well as reading the colour rings they wear and that help us to know their survival rates.