Tuesday, July 17, 2012

American Oystercatcher chicks at Milford Point

The below post, including observations and photos, is from AAfCW technician Sean Graesser:  

I went out Tuesday 7/10 to see if the American Oystercatcher had hatched yet because we were at the beginning of the hatching window. They had not, but I was relieved to see that the three eggs were still there. This year at Milford Point, we had lost five nests. The odds were against these eggs and due to a recent nest being predated by what appeared to be Herring Gulls I was nervous. On Wednesday at 12:00 PM Kim one of the other staff members from the Audubon Alliance told me that she observed an adult American Oystercatcher performing a broken wing display. If you have any experience with American Oystercatchers you know their primary goal is to escape human contact at all costs and this kind of display was obscure for them. This was a red flag that something new was occurring.

I found that one chick had just hatched most likely less than thirty minutes before I came upon the nest. I checked back at around 8:00 PM that night to see if the rest had hatched and if the first chick had gotten up yet, neither had happened.  I was worried that we were only going to get the one egg to hatch. I went out at 8:00 AM the next morning to find to my surprise that another egg had hatched and the two chicks were resting in the nest. I went out again at 2:00 PM that day to find both chicks were out and about on the beach and one egg was still in the nest. There was still one parent incubating that egg, so hopefully it hatched. I then saw the two chicks move in front of me and sit down for me to get some pictures.

If you do go out to see the AMOY chicks please observe from a distance and only take pictures if you have a telephoto lens. Our numbers for Connecticut American Oystercatchers chicks hatching this year are very low, so any success we can get is a big win. Some of the reasons we managed to get these chicks to hatch at all was due to the countless volunteer and staff hours put into to monitor these birds. So once again, we thank everyone for the group effort that is making small wins in the area of waterbird conservation.

Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

No comments:

Post a Comment