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Group Signals Intent to Sue Over Beleaguered Bird
03/19/2013 1:08 PM ET  

The Center for Biological Diversity says federal officials failed to make a timely decison on its 2010 petition to protect the Bicknell's thursh, whose range extends to Maine.

A conservation group says it intends to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to act on endangered species protections for a bird whose breeding grounds extend to Maine.

The Center for Biological Diversity, based in Vermont, filed notice of intent to sue the federal agency, saying it failed to make a timely decison on the center's 2010 petition to protect the Bicknell's thursh.

The bird breeds in only one place:  the high mountains of eastern Canada and the Northeast U.S., including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.

Scientists at the center say 98 percent, or more, of the bird's U.S. habitat is in danger of disappearing because of climate change.   The group says in some areas, Bicknell's thrush populations have already declined by as much as 19 percent.

The conservation group says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required to produce a final decision on such petitions within a year, and it's now more than a year overdue. 

Today's notice gives the center 60 days to file a lawsuit, though an agreement could be reached in the meantime.

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