The Lazy American Oystercatcher

     The American Oystercatcher is one of three species of Oystercatcher that live in North America.  It is a fairly large shorebird with a long, flat, red bill, a black head and back, and a white belly.  These birds are very fun to watch scurry along the oyster flats as they forage at low tide.  The funny part about this birds name to me is that no one really “catches” oysters.  I would describe the feeding style of the American Oystercatcher rather as finding oysters.  Even though oysters can move themselves using an appendage called a foot that grabs onto the ground, I’m pretty sure most people think of them as stationary animals. This creates a problem as the name implies that this bird must actually chase down and catch its prey like a bird of prey or a swallow does. This bird has it easy because it just needs to stay around the marshes and wait for low tide when its food is revealed to start foraging. The American Oystercatcher also eats other animals they catch by probing underground, however. 

  Reading this, you might think I am crazy calling Oystercatchers lazy because from personal experience many people know how hard it is to open an oyster.  Another thing that makes this bird cool is its long, flat bill that it uses like a knife to insert into the oyster sideways and then pry it open long enought to eat the actual meat. So while humans may be challenged in the art of oyster-opening, they Oystercatcher has mastered this art as a natural instinct. No matter how much you deny it, the American Oystercatcher has it pretty good!