Understanding which factors influence nest site selection can lead to more effective species conservation. The Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) has experienced severe declines since the 1940s and could potentially benefit from fine-scale management for nesting habitat, especially where fragmentation impedes conservation at the landscape scale. We examined how habitat characteristics at the nest tree and territory core scales influenced nest site selection by Loggerhead Shrikes in the coastal plain of South Carolina. We found 41 Loggerhead Shrike nests and measured habitat characteristics at the nest site and at available sites to model selection factors at the tree and territory core scales. Loggerhead Shrikes selected for low heterogeneity of vegetation density, high heterogeneity of vegetation height, and lower shrub and tree densities at the territory core scale. Loggerhead Shrikes also preferred nest trees with larger diameters at breast height. Overall, Loggerhead Shrikes appeared to select for nest site characteristics that enhanced foraging ease and success, and limited predation risk. We suggest that landowners in the southeastern coastal plain increase grassy habitat on their property and retain large trees in suitable nesting locations to increase optimal nesting habitat for Loggerhead Shrikes.

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