A magnificent beach-nesting bird with striking black and white plumage, a large bright red-orange bill and a loud unmistakable voice, American Oystercatchers are the most recognizable of all North Carolina shorebirds. They can be found along the North Carolina coast year-round, nesting on sandy beaches and islands.
The main threats to the Oystercatcher include its low population totaling a mere 11,000 birds on the East Coast, widespread loss of beach habitat, recreational disturbance, beach stabilization and predators that thrive in the presence of people.
Much more needs to be understood about the American Oystercatcher and its habitat use in order to understand its conservation needs, but through a partnership with Audubon Toyota TogetherGreen, NC State University and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Audubon North Carolina is conducting an ongoing study of American Oystercatchers. The American Oystercatcher Tracking Project is monitoring the oystercatchers nesting on beaches, natural islands and dredged-sand islands, and identifying the factors that contribute to nest and chick loss. Studies of migration and winter habitats will also document the distribution, abundance and potential threats at these areas.
Through a national climate study, Audubon has identified the American Oystercatcher as a climate threatened bird. Learn more here.
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