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Flaming Hot Shorebirds

Black Oystercatcher

Haematopus Bachmani

If you have my 2021 “Talk Birdie to Me” calendar, meet your July bird!

With their iconic nine centimeter flaming hot Cheetos colored bill, these yelping shorebirds spend their entire lives exclusively on the rocky shorelines of the Pacific coast. Black Oystercatchers (BLOY) are considered a keystone species as they are top predators in the intertidal zone. They forge at low tide and chill at high tide. Their diet includes a variety of small marine life - except oysters! They're mostly permanent residents but may wander short distances.

If you find yourself on the Pacific coast between Alaska and Baja, you should be able to spot these non-oyster eaters year around. They're easily identifiable with black/brown plumage, pink legs, yellow eyes and orange bills. There’s also that high pitched whistle-like call that sounds like a short scream to me. If you’re on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast beaches, you may run into a family member, the American Oystercatcher (AMOY). A group of oystercatchers is called a parcel.

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