Vermont wildlife group sues to protect rare songbird

LAKE PLACID (AP) – A wildlife group has filed a lawsuit against a federal agency for failing to protect the Bicknell’s thrush, a rare songbird that nests on top of mountains in the Adirondacks, New England and Canada.

The Center for Biological Diversity in Richmond, Vt., petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2010 to make the sparrow-sized bird an endangered species. The agency determined in 2012 that the bird may quality for Endangered Species Act protection, but it has failed to make a final decision on the petition. The lawsuit was filed Thursday.

Scientists have predicted that 98 percent or more of the thrush’s U.S. habitat could be lost due to climate change. Scientists have already documented annual population declines of nearly 20 percent in parts of the bird’s range.