Lawsuit Launched To Protect Northeast Songbird Threatened By Climate Change

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Biknell's Thrush
Biknell's Thrush
- photo by T.B. Ryder, USFWS

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of intent on Tuesday to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to make a decision on the Center’s 2010 petition to protect the Bicknell’s thrush as an endangered species. The thrush breeds only high in the mountains of the Northeast and eastern Canada, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. As with many mountaintop species, climate change threatens to push the thrush’s habitat right off the top of the mountain.

“Scientists predict that 98 percent or more of Bicknell’s thrush habitat in the United States could disappear with climate change,” said Mollie Matteson, a conservation advocate at the Center’s Northeast office. “Without swift government action, this icon of our wild Northeast mountains is on track to disappear in our lifetimes.”

Bicknell’s thrushes are olive-brown, migratory birds that nest in dense, coniferous forests near timberline in the Northeast and also breed in Quebec and Canada’s Maritime provinces. Scientists identified them as a distinct species in 1993.

Last summer the Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledged in a “90-day finding” that the Bicknell’s thrush may warrant protection as an endangered species. By law the Service must produce a final “12-month” decision a year after a petition is filed. That decision is now more than a year overdue, and the thrush was not included in the Service’s multiyear species-recovery work plan released this fall, meaning review of the species’ status has essentially stopped.

The overriding threat to the Bicknell’s thrush is climate change. Widely accepted climate models show the species’ breeding habitat shrinking dramatically in the Northeast. If the climate of the Northeast warms by approximately 6 degrees Fahrenheit, the bird’s habitat in the United States will virtually disappear. Scientists have already documented annual population declines of up  to 19 percent in parts of the bird’s range.

“Last year was the warmest year on record in the United States, with record storms, drought and fires. The disappearance of a plucky brown bird nesting at the tops of mountains may not be as dramatic, but all these events point to a world increasingly hostile to life as we know it,” said Ms. Matteson. “Our fate is not separate from that of the thrush or of other species at risk from climate change, and we need to start acting like we know that.”


March 2016 Events At Georgia’s State Parks And Historic Sites

Below is a sample of March events at Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites. For more programs, visit  www.GaStateParks.org/events  and the parks’ web pages.   More information on accommodations and recreation can be found at GeorgiaStateParks.org  or  1-800-864-7275 .    H idden  G em Ser ies Throughout 2016, ... (click for more)

Permit Application Available For Light Goose Conservation Season

Sportsmen are reminded that a free permit is now required to participate in the 2016 Light Goose Conservation season which will be held Feb. 14-March 10.   The application for the free permit is available on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s website. The Light Goose Conservation season is for Blue, Snow and Ross’s geese. The following provisions apply during ... (click for more)

County School Board Considers "Best Practices Audit" On Compliance With Board Policies

The County School Board is considering carrying out a "Best Practices Audit" to determine if board policies are filtering down to the school level. Board member Greg Martin said members of the Superintendent's Student Leadership Council told him that only a fraction of students are familiar with board policies on bullying and other topics. Steve Highlander, another board member, ... (click for more)

Several Central City Schools Overcrowded, School Board Is Told

All the county school overcrowding is not out in the fast-growing East Brainerd and Ooltewah sections, school board members were told Thursday. Several central city schools are far above capacity. East Lake Elementary - with 655 students and a capacity of 493 students - is at 133 percent occupancy. Calvin Donaldson, Orchard Knob Elementary and East Side Elementary also are ... (click for more)

Innocent Until Proven Guilty, Even Athletes

From reading Randy Smith's column on the lawsuit against UT it is pretty evident that he never took a legal course in his life. I was under the impression that in this country one was innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It appears this no longer applies to athletes(particularly black athletes) in the U.S. in 2016. I have always said that if I am picked for jury duty ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Chatt2.org’ Needs You Now

A diverse yet powerful panel of community leaders in Nashville delivered a letter to the Metro Nashville Board of Education last week. It was signed by some top men and women who represent a wide-ranking cross section of Tennessee’s largest city and includes education, business, religious and diversity superstars. You need to understand the urgency behind the letter. Davidson County ... (click for more)