In early May, Manomet’s American Oystercatcher Recovery Project Coordinator Shiloh Schulte visited field sites in the New York City area to meet with partners, discuss plans for this year’s field research season, train field staff, and band oystercatchers.
The partners were members of the American Oystercatcher Working Group, which develops, supports, and implements range-wide research and management efforts.
“Manomet and NYC Audubon are working with the National Park Service and NYC Parks to promote and coordinate oystercatcher management, monitoring, and research in the New York City area,” Schulte said.
During his visit, Schulte assisted oystercatcher banding efforts at Gateway National Recreation Area on Staten Island and at the Arverne beaches in Queens, which is a NYC Parks site. Both sites have a high density of nesting American Oystercatchers and tend to be productive despite significant challenges from predators and human disturbance.
“On two field days, we were able to capture and band 16 adult oystercatchers, which is a very high success rate,” Schulte said. “These birds will be monitored throughout the breeding season by NYC Audubon, the National Park Service, and NYC Parks staff. During migration and winter, our network of conservation partners in the Working Group will actively search for these birds and oystercatchers banded at other field sites to improve our understanding of survival, movement, and connectivity.”
The New York City work is funded primarily by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Over the past 15 years, researchers have banded over 3,500 American Oystercatchers and collected over 30,000 individual resight records. This wealth of information is stored in a shared database where scientists and interested observers can report banded oystercatchers and explore the history and movements of individual birds.
Banding and resight efforts generate new insight into patterns of American Oystercatcher movement, life expectancy, site and mate fidelity, connectivity, and recruitment. Anyone who gets a photo or reading of a color band is encouraged to report it at http://ancperch.org/amoy/index.html.
Learn more about the efforts of the American Oystercatcher Working Group at http://amoywg.org/.
– Haley Jordan
All photos by Shiloh Schulte.