Tuesday, January 6, 2015

More American Oystercatcher Movements

A few weeks ago I reported on the wanderings of a banded American oystercatcher I had observed near Ocean Isle Beach in Brunswick County, NC. Over New Year’s I was again in that area and encountered a nice flock of 20 oystercatchers at the east end of Ocean Isle Beach, two of which wore bands.

I was able to read the bands on both. One wore dark green bands with “XI” on both legs. The other wore orange bands with “05” on both legs. New Jersey uses orange bands and North Carolina uses green.

The New Jersey bird was captured and banded at Little Egg Inlet in 2010. It was re-sighted twice in at the same location in 2011 but has eluded birders’ eyes since then until last week when I saw it.

The North Carolina bird has an extensive re-sighting record, with 28 records entered into the American Oystercatcher Working Group database. It was banded as a chick at Hatteras Island in 2007 and has been nesting as an adult at Ocracoke Island since 2009. The bird likes to spend its winters in the Holden Beach-Ocean Isle-Sunset Beach area; having been sighted at those locations several times. I have reported this bird once before myself, at the exact location in 2013.

For more information on the work being done on American oystercatchers on the East and Gulf Coasts, check out the American Oystercatcher working Group at:


Oystercatchers from New Jersey are adorned with orange bands.

Oystercatchers banded in North Carolina wear green bands.

North Carolina's bands are conspicuous on the birds. Note this one has a radio tracking antenna attached to it also.
American Oystercatcher by John Ennis