April 22, 2011

Beach Babies!

Posted by: Ecological Management

Beach Babies!

We are in full swing with the American Oystercatcher Nesting Project and we are off to a fantastic start! With past research, it has been shown that American Oystercatchers have difficulty nesting successfully due to depredation and tidal events. The project helps with alleviating these circumstances by assisting during the most vulnerable time of reproduction-incubation. Every other nest we find on the beaches of LSSI is a control nest which we leave alone and only visually monitor from a respectful distance. The remaining nests are manipulated and the eggs are collected, replaced, and brought to the Lodge and placed in the incubator. When the eggs hatch they are returned their respective nests and go on to be raised like other American Oystercatcher chicks. Our first nest was laid on March 10 and the adults did a fabulous job incubating their eggs. The chicks hatched earlier this week becoming the first known American Oystercatcher chicks in Georgia this year. I had a chance to see them up close and personal while I was out monitoring on Tuesday. The American Oystercatcher chicks instinctually hide when they are alerted of danger by their parents and as you can see in this photo their coloration helps conceal them among the beach debris. Because the chicks and eggs are both so well camouflaged, they are easily stepped on when walking above the high tide line. Please watch your step when you go out on the beach this summer and remember that staying below the high tide line will help give the nesting shorebirds and seabirds a fighting chance.

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