Banding American Oystercatchers in New York

American Oystercatcher banded 2U

For the first time, American Oystercatchers have been banded in New York State! On Tuesday, June 5th, we took a team to the Arverne area in Far Rockaway to band this beautiful and threatened shorebird. Oystercatchers nest on the beach in a scrape in the sand and at Arverne they nest in full view of the many beachgoers who enjoy the beach. The Urban Park Rangers protect their nesting sites by roping off the areas where the birds nest and patrolling the beach. Working with Shiloh Schulte from the Manomet Center for Conservation Science and Urban Park Rangers staff, we netted five American Oystercatchers, placed identifying bands on them and took some physical measurements. These data will add to the regional effort to understand and protect the species along the Atlantic Coast and we’re excited that New York is now part of this larger effort. If you’re on a beach in the Rockaways, keep an eye out for our banded birds!

- John Rowden and Susan Elbin


  1. Abby Schmitt says:

    Its a shame I didn’t know about this sooner, you see I live on Meadowmere Park the smallest island in nassau county on the head of Jamaica bay. For a while now you can hear JFK airport shooting our precious birds, as well as the birds being shot at, us humans are also being hit with birdshot while we are out in our boats! What is most disturbing are all the birds washing up on shore DEAD! The oyster catcher is one of the birds being killed and several washed up on shore last week, in the future I will take pictures and check for tags whom should I send this info too?
    Abby Schmitt

    • gphillips says:

      Yes, the airport does shoot birds. It’s hard to decide whether it is better for them to shoot many birds near the airport, or risk a bigger campaign on their part which might have impacts further afield if there is another collision with birds. We’ve submitted testimony in regards to the airport’s supplemental environmental impact statement expressing our concerns about lack of accountability and lack of mitigation funds. It is a difficult balance between protecting birds and protecting public safety when it comes to the airport, and it feels like the airports are using the fear generated by the recent high-profile collisions to push beyond what is reasonable. We will need more people like you to be willing to hold officials responsible if we are to turn the tide. Please send any photos to

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