by Allison Anholt
This summer, The Wetlands Institute researchers were busy at work studying American Oystercatchers. To learn about these local-breeders, we captured and banded adults and young with orange bands on their legs. Each half-inch tall plastic band is engraved with a code—readable with binoculars—that helps us to track these shorebirds throughout their lives. Reports of these bands tell us important information about where the birds nest, locations they use during migration, and how long they survive.
This year, one of our birds told us something special. Orange A65, as the chick born in June 2017 is called, made it through Hurricane Irma! On September 12, just two days after the storm hit, A65 was spotted on a northeastern Florida beach, where American Oystercatchers are not usually seen. A65 and 12 other American Oystercatchers touched down long enough for observers to read the bands before continuing their journey south. We were relieved to hear A65 weathered the storm, and will be eagerly awaiting news about our other banded birds!