Bird Studies Canada Atlantic staff Greg Campbell and Kate Bredin recently discovered what appear to be Gray-cheeked Thrushes showing territorial behaviour on several coastal islands off Nova Scotia’s eastern shore. Preliminary analysis of song recordings by Vermont Center for Ecostudies biologists indicates that these birds were Gray-cheeked, and not Bicknell’s, thrushes. This is unusual because the nearest known breeding location for Gray-cheeked Thrush is Newfoundland.
In the first Atlas of the Breeding Birds of the Maritime Provinces, the Gray-cheeked Thrush was detected in various coastal and high elevation locations in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. However, when the Bicknell’s Thrush (previously a subspecies of the Gray-cheeked Thrush) was made a full species in 1995, it was assumed that these past records were all Bicknell’s (and not Gray-cheeked) thrushes. This new information, collected as part of a Nova Scotia coastal island survey for the Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas, suggests that Gray-cheeked Thrushes may indeed be breeding on Nova Scotia’s coast and could, perhaps, have also been doing so during the time of the first breeding bird atlas.
Further research is underway to confirm breeding of this species in Nova Scotia. The coastal island Atlas survey has been made possible with funding from the Shell Environmental Fund and Encana’s Deep Panuke Education & Training and Research & Development Fund.
Source: Bird Studies Canada eNews