During breeding bird censuses in 1994, eleven territories of Red-backed Shrikes were recorded in farmland in northern Drenthe (area of 2271 ha near Norg). The birds favoured hedgerows and young forest plantations alongside streams. Two nests were found, but no fledglings were seen. In a part of this area (1200 ha), two successful breeding pairs were found in 1993. Breeding in farmland has become rare in The Netherlands, where the population of Redbacked Shrikes has dwindled in the 20th century and where the remaining pairs breed in nature reserves. The present colonisation of northern Drenthe may be linked with the thriving population in nature reserves in SE-Drenthe (>100 breeding pairs in the 1990s).