High post-release survival, low dispersal and the recruitment of captive-reared individuals into the wild population are critical to the success of any reintroduction programme. Reintroducing a migratory species poses an additional challenge as success also depends on the return of captive-reared individuals to breeding grounds in subsequent years. We investigated the effects of seven husbandry and management factors on the return rate of captive-reared eastern loggerhead shrikes Lanius ludovicianus migrans and documented the recruitment of returning individuals. During 2004–2010, 564 juveniles were released in Ontario, Canada, as part of a field propagation and release programme and there were 27 confirmed sightings of returning birds during 2005–2011. Returning birds were significantly more likely to have been released in large groups of juveniles (9–10 birds) at 5.5 weeks post-fledging from the Carden field propagation site. Comparisons of the number of young fledged and survival to 2 weeks post-fledging revealed similar results for pairs comprising one captive-reared and one wild-reared individual and pairs comprising two wild individuals. These results highlight the contribution of captive-reared shrikes to the recovery of the wild population and the importance of monitoring outcomes and evaluating techniques.