Bicknell's Thrush on a nest

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Bicknell’s Thrush is among the landbird species of highest conservation concern in North America. A rare and geographically restricted habitat specialist of balsam fir-dominated forests in the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada, Bicknell’s Thrush is estimated to number fewer than ~125,000 individuals. The species is at risk from a variety of threats to its breeding habitats, including recreational development, telecommunication construction, wind power development, acidic precipitation, mercury deposition, and climatic warming. On its Caribbean wintering grounds, where an estimated 90% of the global population is concentrated on Hispaniola, loss of forested habitats has been severe and is ongoing. Recent monitoring of breeding populations indicates consistent, rangewide declines, especially in Canada.

In response to heightened conservation concerns for Bicknell’s Thrush, a coalition of scientists, natural resource managers, and conservation planners formed during the fall of 2007. The International Bicknell’s Thrush Conservation Group (IBTCG) held its inaugural meeting in Woodstock, Vermont, with 25 people attending from five northeastern states and two Canadian provinces. The group’s overall charge is to develop and implement a Conservation Action Plan for Bicknell’s Thrush, which was finalized and released in July 2010. Participants in the IBTCG include representatives from academia, federal and state conservation agencies, non-governmental organizations, and industry.


To develop a broad-based, scientifically-sound approach to conserve Bicknell’s Thrush, incorporating research, monitoring, and on-the-ground management actions

Conservation Goals

1. Increase the global population of Bicknell’s Thrush by 25% over the next 50 years (2011-2060).

2. Ensure no further net loss of distribution of Bicknell’s Thrush across its breeding and winter ranges.

3. Implement and sustain a rangewide breeding season monitoring program.

4. Implement direct conservation and research actions that will address identified threats to Bicknell’s Thrush, leading to improved protection, management and restoration of breeding and wintering habitats.

Coordination Committee

IBTCG is a flexible, inclusive group of more than 40 people from over 25 organizations with a shared commitment to Bicknell’s Thrush conservation. A full list of members can be found in the Conservation Action Plan. The group is organized by a coordination committee comprised of numerous partners who will seek funding, maintain momentum, set meetings and agendas, and identify next steps.

Chris Rimmer (Chair), Vermont Center for Ecostudies
Becky Whittam, Canadian Wildlife Service
Randy Dettmers, United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Yves Aubry, Canadian Wildlife Service
Kent McFarland, Vermont Center for Ecostudies


Subgroups were formed around evolving themes during the first IBTCG meeting. Each subgroup developed a list of priority conservation actions to work on in the next 2-3 years. Co-chairs are indicated.

Wintering Grounds--Investigating potential limiting factors on the wintering grounds, primarily loss and degradation of habitat, non-native predators, economic factors, and educating the public.

Chris Rimmer: crimmer AT
Robert Ortiz: robertortiz20_ AT

Forestry--Investigating the potential impacts of forestry practices on Bicknell's Thrush breeding success, primarily in Maine and Canada.

Becky Whittam: becky.whittam AT
Yves Aubry: yves.aubry AT

Research--Investigating specific research questions that potentially limit Bicknell's Thrush throughout its annual cycle, such as climate change, industrial development, ecotoxicity, and epidemiology.

Kent McFarland: kmcfarland AT
Kevin Fraser: kevin.fraser AT
Tony Diamond diamond AT

Monitoring--Developing a range-wide monitoring program for Bicknell's Thrush on the breeding grounds.

Judith Scarl: jscarl AT
Greg Campbell: gcampbell AT







International Bicknell's Thrush Conservation Group
802-649-1431 (U.S.) • 506-364-5047 (Canada)
info AT

© IBTCG 2013


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