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July 29, 2010
Saving a Rare Songbird – Hemispheric Conservation Plan for Bicknell’s Thrush
White River Junction, VT – An international conservation group today unveiled a plan to protect one of North America’s most rare and vulnerable songbirds, the Bicknell’s thrush, across its entire range from Canada to the Caribbean.
The International Bicknell’s Thrush Conservation Group (IBTCG), an alliance of scientists, conservationists and governments, proposes to increase the global population of Bicknell’s thrush by 25 percent over the next 50 years, mostly by preventing further loss of its breeding and wintering habitats.
The enigmatic thrush, with its swirling song and speckled breast, breeds in specialized mountainous habitat in eastern North America and winters in threatened forests of the Caribbean Greater Antilles. Threats to the songbird, which is declining over portions of its range, include atmospheric pollution, climate change and loss or degradation of its forest habitats.
“We now have an opportunity to save this remarkable species, a migratory songbird found in such limited numbers that its future is in doubt,” said Chris Rimmer, director of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and a lead author of the conservation plan. “This innovative plan offers tangible actions based on sound science and measurable results.”
A Conservation Action Plan for Bicknell’s Thrush establishes a course of conservation and research over the next five years designed to boost the worldwide Bicknell’s Thrush population. Actions include:
The IBTCG estimates the worldwide population of Bicknell’s thrush at 126,000 or fewer birds, a diminutive number for a songbird species. Although U.S. populations declined during the past two decades, numbers have remained stable for the past seven years. However, Bicknell’s thrush in Maritime Canada (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) plunged 15 percent annually during the same period.
The principal agencies and organizations involved in developing the plan include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Vermont Center for Ecostudies and Bird Studies Canada in close collaboration with Canadian government and non-government partners. Collaborators also include conservation partners on the island of Hispaniola, which is believed to support up to 90 percent of the species’ global population in winter.
The full conservation plan and trilingual, non-technical summaries are available on the IBTCG website.
International Bicknell's Thrush Conservation Group
802-649-1431 (U.S.) 506-364-5047 (Canada)
info AT vtecostudies.org
© IBTCG 2013