Thursday, June 5, 2014

A rare bird

Bicknell's thrush (Catharus bicknelli)

This Bicknell's thrush was singing lustily at the misty top of Pico Peak, VT one ethereal May morning. Recently designated a separate species from the grey-cheeked thrush (Catharus minimus), which breeds just south of the tundra and winters in the tropical forests of South America, the Bicknell's thrush is a good deal more impractical. It breeds on mountaintops in New England and southeastern Canada, and only winters on montane forests in the Caribbean. Courtesy its hopelessly selective preference for some of the habitats most vulnerable to anthropogenic degradation, there aren't many of these birds left.