ALBANY — An alliance of North American scientists is supporting work in the Dominican Republic to preserve winter habitat of the rare Bicknell's thrush, which breeds on mountaintops in New York, New England and Canada.
"This project is a new effort to get conservation done in the wintering ground, which we are convinced is the main limiting factor for Bicknell's thrush," said Chris Rimmer, executive director of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.
The sparrow-size brown bird nests 1,200 miles north of its wintering grounds, at elevations over 3,000 feet in New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and southeastern Canada. Its population is estimated at 100,000. Scientists have documented annual population declines of 7 to 19 percent in parts of its range over the past 20 years.
The bird winters on four islands in the Caribbean, mostly on Hispaniola, he said, and it's under siege from charcoal production, subsistence farming, logging, livestock grazing and other threats.
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