Breeding Bird Atlas 1 Additional Accounts

Bicknell‘s Thrush

Catharus bicknelli

The Bicknell’s Thrush, considered a subspecies of the Gray-cheeked Thrush until 1995, went unrecorded during the MBBA, even a “possible” breeder in the state. This is regrettable in that from 1888, when the species was first described as breeding at Mount Greylock, Berkshire County (Faxon 1889), until the early 1970s, the ethereal song of this boreal songster was a regular twilight sound near the mountain’s summit. Since 1972, however, none have been seen heard at Mount Greylock or along the nearby Saddleball Trail—another historic breeding station. What caused the demise this relict population is open to question, but increased human disturbance at the summit of the mountain may have been a contributing factor.

Determining the migratory status of the Bicknell’s Thrush in Massachusetts is clouded by difficulties associated with separating the species from the Graycheeked Thrush. Banding data and reliable sight reports suggest that Bicknell’s Thrushes are probably scarce late-spring and early-fall transients.