American Oystercatcher

American Oystercatcher by George Payne
© George Payne
Haematopus palliatus
Black and white with a large red bill and standing at least a foot in height, the first shorebird on our list is a spectacular one, yet one that is unfortunately rare in Louisiana. It is primarily a bird of the Atlantic Coast, but even there it is seldom seen, since it prefers the most remote and uninhabited beaches. In Louisiana it seems now to be confined almost entirely to the secluded and muddy strands of the Chandeleur chain and nearby islands. In June 1941, I found two on Isle au Pitre and four on North Island, where they were presumably nesting, but in none of my countless visits to other parts of the coast in the last 40 years have I had the slightest glimpse of it. The highest number that has been counted in Louisiana is the 21 seen on the Chandeleur and adjacent islands on June 11 and 12, 1971. This tally did not include birds on Isle au Pitre, which is adjacent to the mainland on the west side of the Chandeleur Sound. The observation of a pair of these birds on Timbalier Island by Leslie Glasgow and Robert H. Chabreck on June 22, 1973, is the first record of the species west of the Mississippi delta since Audubon observed it on the Isle Dernieres in 1837.
The American Oystercatcher is presumably a permanent resident at the latitude of the northern Gulf Coast, but actual records for it in Louisiana are lacking for October and for the period from November 6 to March 26.--George H. Lowery, Jr., 1974, Louisiana Birds

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