American Oystercatcher - Bolivar Peninsula (TX) - September 2019

Photos of an American Oystercatcher feeding in an oyster reef near low tide.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera, 300mm f/4 IS Pro Lens + 1.4x teleconverter
1/2000 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

The same camera settings were used for all the images shown in this blog entry.

American Oystercatchers feed mostly on saltwater bivalve mollusks, including many species of clams and several oysters and mussels (source).

When feeding on oysters, they locate food visually, wading slowly through slightly submerged oyster reefs until they see one that is slightly open (source).

“When a bivalve with open valves is located, the oystercatcher quickly inserts its knife-like bill into the open valves, and with several quick thrusts severs the adductor chain that holds the two valves together. The bird then extracts and consumes the soft parts”. Source

Look closely at the two images above and you can see the food that was extracted from the oyster shell.

David Sparks

I retired in 2005 after 40 years of research and teaching at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (24 years), the University of Pennsylvania (8 years) and the Baylor College of Medicine (8 years). Photography is my retirement hobby.

Nature photography, especially bird photography, combines a number of things that I really enjoy: bird-watching, being outdoors, photography, travel, messing about with computers, and learning new skills and concepts.  I now spend much of my time engaged in these activities.

David Sibley in the preface to The Sibley Guide to Birds wrote "Birds are beautiful, in spectacular as well as subtle ways; their colors, shapes, actions, and sounds are among the most aesthetically pleasing in nature."  My goal is to acquire images that capture the beauty and uniqueness of selected species as well as images that highlight the engaging behaviors the birds exhibit.