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Efforts Made to Protect Rare Songbird

T.B. Ryder/USFWS

The Center for Biological Diversity has filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect the Bicknell's Thrush as an endangered species.

The Bicknell’s Thrush is a rare songbird that nests on mountaintops in the Adirondacks, New England and Canada. The Richmond, Vermont-based Center for Biological Diversity had petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to place the bird on the federal endangered species list. The agency determined in 2012 that the bird may quality for Endangered Species Act protection. But Northeast Conservation Advocate Mollie Matteson says the federal agency has failed to make a final decision on the petition.

The petition states that the species is at serious risk of extinction and asks the court to force the federal agency to make a decision. Matteson says legal protection under the endangered species act is crucial for protection efforts.

Wildlife Conservation Society Adirondack Program Director of Science Michale Glennon has not seen the lawsuit, nor is the society involved in the proceedings. She notes that the Bicknell’s Thrush is a songbird being squeezed out at both ends of its habitat.

In New York, the Department of Environmental Conservation, which is not involved in the lawsuit against the federal agency, reports that Bicknell’s Thrush habitat is largely limited to 57 locations in the High Peaks in the Adirondacks and Catskills. It is neither considered endangered nor threatened, but is a Species of Concern in New York. DEC  Wildlife Diversity Section Director Dan Rosenblatt explains the label indicates potential threats, but no precipitious nor steady population decline nor other immediate threats.

Rosenblatt adds that the key concerns over Bicknell Thrush population declines are focused on the songbird’s wintering grounds.

The Center for Biological Diversity’s complaint includes nine species it has petitioned for an endangered designation.

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