WatchList Species Account
for Bicknell’s Thrush |
the list as a Red List Species
|Photo: George Jett
Bicknell’s Thrush, once considered
a subspecies of the Gray-cheeked Thrush, has a fragmented
and limited breeding range in montane and maritime forest
habitats in the Catskills and Adirondacks of New York and
the higher peaks of northern New England and Quebec, New Brunswick,
and Nova Scotia. It winters only in the Greater Antilles,
with the bulk of the population in the Dominican Republic.
Habitat destruction is a problem both on
its breeding and wintering grounds, where it has been impacted
by destruction of its favored habitat, wet to mesic broadleaf
forest at higher elevations. Revisiting historic sites in
the Dominican Republic revealed that several had been degraded
to the point that thye were no longer suitable for the bird.
In North America it is a habitat specialist restricted to
montane forests where balsam fir dominates, with other components
including red and black spruce, and white birch and mountain
ash. It breeds above 3,690 feet in the more southern part
of its range but as low as 2,460 feet farther north. It is
often found in recently disturbed areas that are succeeding
rapidly or on chronically disturbed areas on exposed ridgelines.
Acid rain is strongly implicated in the
decline of high elevation forests in the Northeast, thus degrading
the bird’s habitat. Global climate change may have a
great impact on balsam fir forests, severely reducing their
extent. Numbering only perhaps 50,000 individuals, the conservation
status of the Bicknell’s Thrush is precarious.