We have a very special patient this week that may be the first hatchling Black Oystercatcher we’ve cared for in our 44+ years.
This orphaned Oystercatcher was captured at Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz, CA on August 7th by our friends at Native Animal Rescue (NAR). It arrived on August 9 weighing 23 grams. It has grown quickly and now weighs in at an impressive 112 grams.
The chick is in a shorebird box at our San Francisco Bay Center along with a surrogate parent (feather duster). It loves to munch on mussels and other mollusks.
At adulthood the Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) can grow to weigh 700 grams (24 oz) with a length of 47 cm (18.5 in). These noisy seabirds are found along the rocky coastal zones from Alaska to Baja California.
There only about 12,000 Black Oystercatchers along the west coast. They are associated with healthy, productive marine habitat and thus, a great indicator species of intertidal marine health.