American Oystercatcher Family

oystercatcher at sea sony 2 copy
American Oystercatcher. Isn't this the coolest looking bird ever? I can't claim any credit for the awesome photos, though. All these pictures were taken by my son, Pete Wrublewski. We were very lucky to see a whole family of American Oystercatchers at South Beach in Chatham earlier this week.

oysterctchr sony copy
Seen in real life, the vivid colors are even better than I expected.  The bright red-orange eye ring, for example, is not a bit subtle!  This adult oystercatcher had a numbered band on each thigh and a metal band on it's ankle.  I don't know what the yellow bands mean - I don't even know if this is the male or the female oystercatcher.

other oystercatcher
This is the other adult; the one without any bands.  If one adult wasn't labeled, I wouldn't have been able to tell them apart.  They appear to be identical.  Both have really large feet, BTW!

oystercatcher face first sony copy
They are even stranger looking viewed face first!

banded oystercatcher 2 sony copy
The banded bird seemed to stay closer to the two youngsters throughout the day. 

oystercatchers screaming parent sony copy
Here she (or he) was yelling at Pete for getting too close to the babies.  The youngsters begin yelling in response to her cries of alarm.  (Note: You can see the metal band clearly in this photo.)

juvenile oystercatchers profile sony copy
Here they are!  Two immature American Oystercatchers up close and personal! 

juvenile oystercatcher close sony copy
I don't know how old they are, but my copy of "Shorebirds of North America, Europe, and Asia: A Guide to Field Identification (Princeton Field Guides)," says the pale fringe of feathers on the head and neck mean they are "fresh" juveniles.

young oystercatcher
One of the juvenile American Oystercatchers resting, . . .

young oystercatcher 2
scratching an itch, and then . . .

oystercatcher immature in flight sony
flying away! This is an awesome shot, isn't it? (Congratulations, Pete!) It's the only oystercatcher in flight we saw all day! Evidently they spend a lot of time walking around.


  1. I LOVE these birds, and your son has captured some incredible images. Their bills are great--the color, the size...the shape!

  2. Nice shots!
    I do not see many of these birds...lucky you!

  3. Great pictures! My compliments to your son. I am glad I found this blog.


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