A bird that ornithologists, birders and wind-power opponents say is at risk from developments ranging from mountaintop wind turbines to ski resorts could get federal protection.
The Bicknell’s thrush – a medium-sized migrating songbird – has cleared the first stage of a long route that could lead to it being declared a threatened or endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday.
At issue is the bird’s habitat as much as its numbers, because the terrain that the Bicknell’s thrush favors is almost exactly the same as that sought by wind-energy companies, foresters and tourism developers.
According to the International Bicknell’s Thrush Conservation Group, the bird’s numbers have declined to about 125,000 globally. Over the past 10 years, U.S. populations have been more stable than those in Canada, which have shown “steep declines … due to habitat loss,” the Fish and Wildlife Service reported.
Read more from the Portland Press Herald by staff writer North Cairn.