Grive de Bicknell

artist: Nadia Berghella

A rare and vulnerable bird

One has to be a lucky bird-watcher to observe a Bicknell thrush (Catharus bicknelli), a rare and shy bird which lives almost exclusively in dense fir forests on the higher parts of mountains often covered by fog.

The Bicknell thrush is very sensitive to the alteration of its habitat, restrained to only a few fragmented areas in the north-east of North America. The species is currently considered vulnerable in the province of Quebec while it is threatened in Canada. According to the datas available, the number of specimens is declining disturbingly on Canadian soil. The main cause is surely the loss of its habitat with the logging activities, the development of recreational areas, the erection of wind turbines and communication towers. The Bicknell thrush also suffers from the deterioration of its wintering habitat in the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rica, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands).

HERE in the park

The Bicknell thrush has been observed in the highest areas of the park since 2005. It is mostly seen on Mont Saint-Magloire, Mont du Midi and the trail called Crête des Grives (Thrush’s crest), named in its honour. Following the environmental evaluation and assessment process realised in 2010 and 2011 on the Massif du Sud regional park territory, it was agreed not to erect any wind turbines in the areas assessed as its prime habitat, mostly located at an altitude of 700 meters and more.

Did you know?

  • The Bicknell thrush is a close cousin of the American robin. Like the robin, the thrush feeds on insects captured on the ground.
  • Every year, close to 50% of all thrush’s brood are lost to predators such as the red squirrel, the eastern chipmunk, the blue jay, the grey jay and the common raven.
  • The sound of the Bicknell thrush is pretty but faint and, unlike most species, the female also sings.
  • Another feature of the Bicknell thrush is that both male and female are polygamous and more than one male can help feed a female’s chicks.