Saturday, August 17, 2013

American Oystercatcher, Chincoteague Island, Virginia

While on my Eastern Shore excursion in July, I made the acquaintance of the American Oystercatcher and happily added this gorgeous bird to my Bird Life List. Yippee! Let me just say, they are one cool looking bird! Their long red bills are so bright, not to mention perfect for prying open bivales such as mussels and clams which is their primary diet. Apparently, I got very lucky, as the waters off the coast of the Eastern Shore are the American Oystercatcher's summer breeding grounds. In winter the Oystercatcher is found along the coast of Florida and the Caribbean. The remainder of the year, you can find the Oystercatcher along the southwest and southeast coasts of the United States, as well as South America. Apparently, there's a Black Oystercatcher that can be found mainly around Baja California also.

This was one colorful little bird scurrying about amongst the remains of oyster shells on the western side of Chincoteague Island. I only saw a few Oystercatchers in this one location on the island. I love their long red bills and their yellow eyes with the red rings around them.

As you drive out past Tom's Cove on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, at one point the road is closed with signs posted due to nesting birds in the area. I wonder if one of those nesting birds could be the American Oystercatcher. They normally build their nests up high on sandy spits or in lowland areas where there is good cover. The area closed past Tom's Cove was covered in higher sand dunes definitely a great breeding area for the Oystercatcher. I wonder have you seen the Oystercatcher in your travels? Our weather here has been unseasonably cool with an abundance of rainfall, not the typical Kentucky August weather of hot, humid and dry to the point of drought. ENJOY!

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday


  1. This is one strange-looking bird! The eye and beak!

  2. Very nice find! We love the Eastern Shore (my hubby's ancestors lived there)

  3. Every time I see the Chincoteague name I remember a book I read when I was little ...Misty of Chinconteague... about a wild pony ... it's so long ago I don't remember the actual story, but I remember I loved that book....

    back to the Oystercatcher... ahhahha .... what a wild coloured beak he has! it matches his wild looking eye.....

  4. That bright beak sure is pretty against the green grass! I don't think I've ever seen one of these.