Info about the banded American Oystercatcher

On October 29th, I mentioned that when my friends and I were birding at Stone Harbor Point, we found an American Oystercatcher with leg bands. I reported the bands and after a few days, I was contacted about the history of this bird. From my photos of the bird, I knew its auxiliary marker (two yellow bands on the upper portion of each leg) read ‘J 1’ but I was not able to read the code on the silver, federal leg band. The banding lab was able to tell me that it is 1055-04556. All the east coast states coordinate banding efforts and each state assigns a different color for the auxiliary bands. New Jersey’s color is orange (which quickly fades to yellow as seen in my photos).

I was told that the bird was originally banded as a chick on Champagne Island, in the middle of Hereford Inlet (see map below) in 2005! This makes the bird 6 years old! In 2009, this individual was first reported nesting. It may have began nesting the year before that, since most American Oystercatchers take 3 to 4 years to start breeding, but no one saw it besting that year, so there is no way to know for sure. For more information about the American Oystercatcher Working Group, check out this link.

'J 1', the American Oystercatcher I re-sighted on Stone Harbor in October. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Aerial photo of Stone Harbor, New Jersey showing where 'J 1" was hatched in 2005, and where I re-sighted it in October 2011. The blue marker shows where it hatched on Champagne Island. The red marker shows where I re-sighted the bird on Stone Harbor Point.