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Competition and Climate Change Threaten Bicknell’s Thrushes

Cara J

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Benjamin Freeman had never seen or heard a Bicknell’s thrush (Catharus bicknelli) before he began studying the songbirds in the Adirondacks. He woke up at 3:30 a.m. one morning to hike to the top of the mountains in search of the federally threatened species. After battling hordes of black flies and mosquitos and navigating his way through dense forest filled with sweet smelling balsam fir and spruce trees, Freeman heard the bird’s song. Then he heard it a second and a third time. “I was pleased to find they were quite common within their restricted habitat in the Adirondacks,” said Freeman, a graduate student at Cornell University. Freeman found 16 Bicknell’s thrush territories as well as 36 Swainson’s thrush territories — enough to conduct his research. One of the spruce-fir forests where Bicknell’s thrush live.Image Credit: Ben Freeman Freeman was examining how Bicknell’s thrushes, a songbird that breeds in high elevation forests in New England, are threatened by climate change as well as competition from Swainson’s thrushes (Catharus ustulatus) as part of a study published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications. A warming climate may cause Bicknell’s thrushes to move further upslope to cooler areas, constricting their range, and Freeman’s research shows [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/competition-and-climate-change-threaten-bicknells-thrushes/

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