Join In – it is not meaningless!

“All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies, and Canadian society as a whole” ~ Environment Canada


“I believe in oneness of mankind and of all living things and in the interdependence of each and all. I believe that unless we play fair to the Earth, we cannot exist physically on this planet.”~Richard St. Barbe Baker.

It is not at all meaningless to speak about the Prairie Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides). This unique small passerine bird is listed as threatened / critically endangered as the population has been steadily decreasing since the 1960s.

The Loggerhead shrikes love scattered shrubby growth, and will nest in Caragana, Manitoba Maple, and thorny vegetation such as Buffaloberry shrubbery. The Shrike breed along shelterbelts and riparian areas of the prairies. In this south west sector of the city of Saskatoon, botanists have confirmed that this species is documented for this region wherever there may be wetlands combined with open areas and tall shrubbery.

In order to thrive, and be resilient, the Shrike requires an open grasslands area to forage with elevated perches or lookout points about 4 meters high upon which to sit to facilitate their hunting activities.

The Loggerhead Shrike is quite unique in its dietary habits, as it does not confine itself to seeds, berries insect grub and larvae, but as a carnivorous bird, will capture amphibians, lizards, small mammals such as mice, and small birds. Due its small size, it impales its prey on barbed wire or the thorns of the Buffaloberry bush, which grows around the Chappell Marsh and West Swale wetlands. Though, the main food are grasshoppers, beetles, and rodents. It is only when these are hard to find, that the Loggerhead Shrike will forage for other animals.

How to identify the Loggerhead Shrike:
The wings are coloured black, with a white patch, and the head is quite unique with a mask across the eyes similar to a raccoon. The main colour of the Shrike is grey, with a white or pale breast. Shrikes are about 9 inches in length, and weigh in at 45-60 grams. The Loggerhead Shrike migrate here in March and April leaving after the breeding season from September to November. These birds will migrate nocturnally.

Outlook for the Shrike
Though it is truly unknown what has caused the numbers of the Loggerhead Shrike to plummet, ornithologists hope that by studying the birds and their habitat, the cause for their decline can be ascertained. Currently listed as a threatened species by Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada,  COSEWIC. it is a mandate to place the environment of the Loggerhead Shrike safe from destruction by conversion or development which may alter their prey populations. Scientists have also decided to place the Prairie Loggerhead Shrike as Schedule 1, Threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). It is also interesting to note that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature declared temperate grasslands the world’s most endangered ecosystem. * “Grasslands can also showcase how people and nature can coexist,” said Dan Kraus, a Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) scientist, “Among the last places on Earth to shelter grasslands at a meaningful scale are the grasslands of North America’s Great Plain…Endangerment comes down to risk — the risk of losing a species, habitat or ecosystem for future generations. *

In the south west sector of the city of Saskatoon, it is a relief that remnant native grassland remains. Additionally, the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area affords wetland plant communities. The West Swale which passes through the large open wetlands and Chappell Marsh features many small scattered wetland areas, with more than adequate habitat and foraging for aquatic fauna, with belts of native and modified grasslands.

The Loggerhead Shirke, Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides during its breeding seasons, ie a “breeding Bird is characterized by: territorial behaviour; calling to competing male, mate or young; singing; courtship displays; carrying food or nest materials etc., and; presence of nest or young found incidentally. Between May 1 – Aug 15, the Loggerhead Shrike is protected 50 meters from low disturbance activity such as walking, and is protected for 250 meters from medium disturbances such as driving, and 400 m from roads, drilling, and other such high disturbance activity according to the Ministry of the Environment for Saskatchewan.

It is interesting to note how the City of Saskatoon’s citizens and residents regards conservation expectations or indifference to wildlife species such as the Prairie Loggerhead Shrike and their habitat. As Environment Canada states, “Success in the recovery of this species depends on the commitment and cooperation of many different constituencies that will be involved in implementing the directions set out in this strategy and will not be achieved by Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency, or any other jurisdiction alone. All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies, and Canadian society as a whole.*

1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

The elected and appointed officials are:

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,, P.C., M.P., Prime Minister of Canada, Ottawa

The Honourable Catherine McKenna Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Her Honour the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, S.O.M., S.V.M., Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan

Honorable Sheri Benson, Member of Parliament Constituency:Saskatoon West

The Honourable Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan. Email

Cabinet Minister
The Honourable Scott Moe, Minister of the Environment

Ms. Jennifer Campeau. Saskatchewan Party Saskatoon Fairview ~ representing the regions for the West Swale and Afforestation areas. Members of the Legislative Assembly.

His Worship Mayor Charlie Clark

Saskatoon City Councillors. Ward 2 – Councillor Hilary Gough and Ward 3 – Councillor Ann Iwanchuk

Shaping Saskatoon Email communications Division

“Man has lost his way in the jungle of chemistry and engineering and will have to retrace his steps, however painful this may be. In doing so, perhaps he may be able to recapture the rhythm of life and the love of the simple things of life, which will be an ever-unfolding joy to him.” ~Richard St. Barbe Baker


Background Information ~ Status of Birds in Canada. Environment Canada. Government of Canada.

Bird ~ Status of Birds in Canada ~ Environment Canada. Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)

Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Wildlife Preservation Canada.

Hinterland Who’s Who. Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike Wikipedia.

Loggerhead Shrike Life History, All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Loggerhead Shrike on a Fence. Sonoran Images.

Loggerhead Shrike American Bird Conservancy

Loggerhead Shrike. Birdweb

Loggherad Shrike Audubon

Loggerhead Shrike Jeteliot

Loggerhead Shrike Prairie Subspecies
Loggerhead Shrike Avian 101

Saskatchewan Activity Restriction Guidelines for Sensitive Species. September 2015-1 Ministry of Environment. Government of Saskatchewan.

Species at Risk Public Registry.

Loggerhead Shrike What Bird

Recovery Strategy for the Loggerhead Shrike. Prairie Subspecies. (Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides), in Canada. Species at Risk Registry. Recovery Planning
Environment and Climate Change Canada

Environment Canada. 2015. Recovery Strategy for the Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies (Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides), in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. iv + 23 pp.

Shrike Neil D. Murray

Species Profile (Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies) – Species at Risk

Thwarted Shrike Attack Birders Journey

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page:

Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Facebook: South West Off Leash Recreation Area SW OLRA

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker





1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

“Kind people have been expressing superlatives on my work. But I can assure you that anything which I have been able to achieve has been team work. We have a motto in the Men of the Trees. TWAHAMWE. It is an African word meaning ‘pull together’ and I pass this on to all those concerned with conservation in this country. I would like to call you to silence for a moment with the words of Mathew Arnold:

“Calm soul of all things, make it mine,
To feel amidst the City ‘s jar
That there abides a peace of thine
Men did not make and cannot mar. ”
~Richard St. Barbe Baker

Migrate to Mexico, see the Monarchs

I believe in the Oneness of Mankind and all living things and the interdependence of each and all. Richard St. Barbe Baker

Would you like to migrate to Mexico, to see the Monarch Butterflies ?

The Monarch Butterfly comes up to Canada in the spring, but the Monarchs are currently, right now down south.  The Monarch Butterfly  is listed under the Endangered Species Act in the USA, and a species of concern in Canada, find out what actions you, personally can take, to protect and conserve the habitat for this butterfly.

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) photo credit William Warby

This January, Saskatoon is pulling out of the weather system known as a Mackenzie Clipper. David Phillips, the senior climatologist at Environment Canada, describes a Mackenzie clipper as a weather system similar to the Alberta clipper, however with the origins around the MacKenzie River. An Alberta clipper (or Canadian Clipper) is a fast moving low pressure area across the central provinces of Canada, through to the Great Lakes. Residents notice a sudden and drastic temperature drop, and increased winds such as those experienced on Wednesday January 11, 2017 when the temperature dove to -34.1 Celsius, with a wind chill of -47 Celsius. Snowfall and precipitation amounts are very small. Where an Alberta clipper originates when the warmer air of the Pacific Ocean meets with the Rocky Mountains.

Warmer weather has arrived at the end of January, with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark however the cold snap, just one week ago, makes this contest to Mexico, a treat. So now, before Sunday, January 29, please take the time to enter a contest to win a trip for two to the magical Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico from February 16 to 25, 2017! Wouldn’t you love to see millions of butterflies in flight at the El Rosario and Sierra Chincua sanctuaries. These sanctuaries are part of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Read further, and find out what you can do for the butterfly habitat, can there be any more butterfly gardens, or sanctuaries in Canada?

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) Photo credit Paul Stein

So what can you do to help the endangered species, the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) ?

  • Get informed about the projects at the David Suzuki organisation to save the butterflies.
  • Sign up for the David Suzuki newsletter
  •  Sign the Monarch Manifesto.
  • Grow milkweed and other pollinator-friendly plants in your City of Saskatoon yard. Ask for space in the community garden, and urban parks for milkweed and pollinator-friendly plants.
  • You can, today, reach out to a green group such as the Saskatoon Native Plant Society, Saskatoon Horticulture Society, Saskatoon Nature Society, Meewasin Valley Authority, Naturalized Areas Supervisor, City of Saskatoon to learn if there can be a possibility towards butterfly gardens, with milkweed and pollinator-friendly plants, installed in Saskatoon.
  • Contact Nature Conservancy of Canada NCC for Monarch butterfly programs this year, and for more information on Conservation Volunteer programs.
  • When the migration starts in Saskatchewan this summer in the month of August
    report Monarch sightings by calling Nature Saskatchewan‘s toll-free line at 1-800-667-HOOT (4668).
  • When you go out to buy your milkweed seeds, ask City of Saskatoon local garden centres to stock those plants. Nature Saskatchewan says that five species of milkweed thrive in Saskatchewan.
    • low milkweed, (or “oval-leafed milkweed”) Asclepias ovalifolia thrives in moist mixed grasslands and parklands
    • showy milkweed, Asclepias Speciosa grows in mixed grasslands,
    • silky milkweed, (or “common milkweed,” tropical milkweed or Golden Butterflyweed) Asclepias curassavica a provincially rare plant that may be spotted in mixed grasslands
    • whorled milkweed, (eastern whorled milkweed, horsetail milkweed) Asclepias verticillata rare plant In Saskatchewan might be found  in mixed grasslands
    • green milkweed, (Green antelopehorn) Asclepias viridis
      Asclepias viridis Walter,Asclepias viridiflora a  mixed grassland areas variety.

    Walter V. Krivda states that milkweed favours the typical black soil of the prairies, but has been seen in gravel and clay railway embankments.  If you are going to start your seeds indoors, select a date six to eight weeks before your last frost date, and one does not usually start indoor germination before the end of February.   For example vegetable gardens are typically seeded in Saskatchewan, around the last week of May, which is usually safe and the  risk of frost has passed.  If you did not start your seeds last fall in your Monarch butterfly Milkweed garden, then talk to your nursery now, for best hints on how to grow your Milkweed plants successfully.

  • Contact the CBC morning edition with places where you can buy milkweed, such as Early’s Seed and Feed .
  • Look for butterflies at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and at the afforestation area formerly called George Genereux Urban Regional Park.  According to Weyburn This Week, “The yearly migration of these butterflies will take place in late August. It takes three to four generations of butterflies to complete the migration they undertake, and the final generation starts in Saskatchewan. …The last generation lives for up to nine months, starts far north in Saskatchewan, migrates south, overwinters in Mexico or California, and finally lays eggs in the spring.” Walter V. Krivda has found butterflies into September, and occasionally October, the Monarch, Danaus Plexippus (L.) leaves Canada when heavy frosts arrive.
  • There are butterfly look-alikes such as the Viceroy, Limenitis archippus. The Viceroy travels further north than the Monarch, but seeks the look-alike pattern of the Monarch for protection from predators. Viceroys are smaller than Monarchs; Viceroy: 2 1/2 – 3 3/8 inches (6.3 – 8.6 cm) Monarch: 3 3/8 – 4 7/8 inches (8.6 – 12.4 cm). Viceroy butterflies do not migrate, but rather they over-winter, so they emerge around the same time that willow and poplar leaves burst from their bud, the Viceroy caterpillar actually feeds on the salicylic acid from the Willow and Poplar. Whereas the Monarch caterpillar feeds on the milkweed. The markings of the Viceroy and Monarch Butterfly, though similar, difference can be found on their hind wings to distinguish one from the other with the human eye or camera.

    Viceroy Butterfly Limenitis archippus Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
    Viceroy Butterfly (Limenitis archippus) Courtesy Benny Mazur
  • Send in your butterfly photos this spring and summer to the SWOLRA or the Richard St. Barbe Baker facebook pages!  Facebook: StBarbeBaker  Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area  Facebook: South West OLRA They ~ the butterflies ~ are declining in numbers, but have you seen butterflies? Do you have a butterfly story?

I believe in the Oneness of Mankind and all living things and the interdependence of each and all.  Richard St. Barbe Baker

CBC listeners send photos of monarch butterflies and milkweed. Milkweed is the only plant the Monarch Butterflies will lay egg on. CBC News.

Charleton, Jonathan. Dead of winter brings rare and brutal weather system to Saskatoon Saskatoon Star Phoenix. January 11, 2017.

Davis, Don. Jorney North: Monarch Butterfly. How Far North Do Monarchs Migrate? Monarch Breeding Range in North America.

It is Prime Monarch Butterfly time in Saskatchewan Nature Saskatchewan seeks help in research and conservation during Royal Migration. CBC news. August 2, 2016.

Krivda, Walter V. Monarch Butterfly (Danaidae) in Northern Saskatchewan. Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Monarchs and Milkweed Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Monarch or Viceroy?

Monarch butterflies start their migration in Saskatchewan Weyburn this week.

Places to find milkweed in Sask. to conserve Monarch Butterflies Monarch butterflies need milkweed to thrive. CBC news. April 2, 2015.

Prest, Ashley and Kevin Rollason. Not seeing is believing Blizzard-like conditions, brutal winds, extreme cold wreak havoc on province. Winnipeg Free Press. January 12, 2017.

Wikipedia. Alberta Clipper Viceroy (Butterfly> Monarch Butterfly

For more information:
Monarch Butterfly Milkweed Garden 101

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page:
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Facebook: StBarbeBaker
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
Contact the Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The MVA has begun a Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund. If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)”. Please and thank you!
Twitter: StBarbeBaker