Migration Studies and Cultural Impact of the Bicknell’s Thrush

The Bicknell’s Thrush is a threatened songbird that migrates between high elevation spruce/fir forests in the northeast United States and southeast Canada and their winter habitat on the Island of Hispaniola (Haiti in the west and the Dominican Republic in the east). This migration includes the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This project is an interdisciplinary, multi-year, multi-phase cluster project. The main goal is to increase awareness and conservation action for the Bicknell’s Thrush and its habitat. Key issues to address include how conservation needs and development of land intersect, effects of climate change on breeding habitat, and the role of public awareness in conserving this species through media. Faculty from a variety of disciplines, students, and external partners are committed to accomplishing the above desired outcomes.

A field trip to the top of Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire offered students the opportunity to observe Bicknell’s Thrush habitat in the area. Continued work will include a film on the Haitian culture where the birds migrate to in the winter, a conference on conservation and land use, an international trip to visit bird habitat sites, and exhibits and associated workshops planned. Students engage at high-levels in the planning, logistics, and study of the Bicknell’s Thrush migration patterns. This also serves as an opportunity to learn about the cultures of the society where the birds live at varying times throughout the year.

Goals of the project include:

  • Providing students in a variety of disciplines with interconnected learning focused on sustainable development, species of special conservation need and migratory bird ecology.
  • Educating the public about the presence of the Bicknell’s Thrush in their breeding and wintering habitat.
  • Expand awareness and explore the cultural pressure points that
  • challenge preservation of critical habitat for this species in the United States and Dominican Republic
  • Developing this as a case study involving systems thinking about social justice issues including the environment, sustainability, ecotourism, and education.
  • Highlighting Bicknell’s Thrush as an example of how changes to forested landscapes in NH and the DR are linked and strongly influence a species threatened with extinction.
  • Explaining the strong connection between tropical and temperate forests in the life histories of migratory bird species.
  • Engaging and empowering students and the public in informed action

Find Your Degree Program

Explore majors and degree programs associated with Integrated Clusters involved with this project: