Blog entries / Migratory birds / Science and research

Keeping an eye on the Bicknell’s thrush in Sierra de Bahoruco

The Bicknell's thrush is among the rarest of eastern North America's songbirds. Climate change threatens the viability of both its wintering and breeding areas. Photo: Steve Faccio, courtesy of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies

The Bicknell’s thrush is among the rarest of eastern North America’s songbirds. Climate change threatens the viability of both its wintering and breeding areas. Photo: Steve Faccio, courtesy of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies

This post is reblogged from the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. We recently wrote about natural resource damage settlement funds going from Massachusetts to help birds that migrate through the Northeast but that are in need of conservation in their wintering grounds in Belize.

This story also emphasizes the importance of research and conservation activities for migratory wildlife not only where they spend their time in the U.S., but also where they migrate to and from.


 

From the Vermont Center for Ecostudies:
Followers of VCE’s work on Hispaniola over the past 20 years are well aware of Sierra de Bahoruco and its importance for overwintering Bicknell’s Thrush. This rugged and remote mountain range in southwestern Dominican Republic supports some of the island’s most impressive biodiversity, hosting nearly all of Hispaniola’s 31 endemic bird species. Since 1994, VCE and our Dominican partners have conducted field research that helped establish Sierra de Bahoruco as the centerpiece of UNESCO’s Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve, created in 2002.

Esteban Garrido and Jesus Almonte surveying recently cleared cloud forest. From the original VCE blog, courtesy of  Yolanda Leon.

Esteban Garrido and Jesus Almonte surveying recently cleared cloud forest. From the original VCE blog, courtesy of Yolanda Leon.

Recently, however, our conservation colleagues at Grupo Jaragua have documented rampant illegal clearing and burning of cloud forests on Bahoruco’s southern slopes, well within limits of the protected national park boundaries. While conducting Bicknell’s Thrush surveys this past winter, long-time VCE associates Esteban Garrido and Jesus Almonte watched in alarm as the forests where they were finding thrushes disappeared before their eyes. Follow-up surveys revealed accelerating forest loss. Some areas had been planted with potatoes, avocado, beets, carrots, and beans. On others, cows grazed and makeshift ovens converted felled trees into charcoal. … Read the rest at the VCE blog!

Intact cloud forest understory in Sierra de Bahoruco. From the original VCE blog, courtesy of Eladio Fernandez.

Intact cloud forest understory in Sierra de Bahoruco. From the original VCE blog, courtesy of Eladio Fernandez.

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