Oystercatcher Alert: Save Our Beach Birds!

“06880” readers know Carolyn Doan for her gorgeous photos of the Fresh Market ospreys. For years she has documented their arrival, their food-gathering forays, the births of their chicks, and their time here.

Today she turns her attention to another beautiful bird. Carolyn writes:

For the past 2 years the American oystercatchers and piping plovers have lost their nests at Compo Beach. This is despite the area being roped off for protection.

Predation has been the main culprit in losing nests and chicks. Fish crows, gulls and canines are all serious threats. Human activity and trash left on the beach attracts predators, drawing them to the protected area on the beach.

An American oystercatcher and chick at Compo Beach, in 2021. Sadly, the young bird did not survive. 

After losing another nest earlier this season, the oystercatcher pair is back. Last night, they were incubating at least one egg.

The Audubon Alliance for Coastal Shorebirds has made every effort to protect these endangered birds. These include marked areas of the beach, large signs and metal cage-like structures placed over nests to assure that eggs are protected. Westport Parks & Recreation Department has been a huge help too.

This weekend and afterward, the American oystercatchers need our help. Please keep dogs off the beach. Canine footprints found in the area could be the result of foxes or coyotes, but of course there should be no dogs on the beach this time of year any way.

Female oystercatcher incubating at Compo.

Also, please stay away from the protected area near the cannons. The most sensitive area is closest to the shoreline where the birds are incubating, so please don’t walk that stretch of beach near the water. This flushes the birds off the nest, and makes it vulnerable to predators.

Please pick up trash and throw it away. Better yet, bring it with you.

On Friday night there was a lot of food and trash left at the beach. Fish hawks and gulls flocked to the area.

Compo Beach trash, last night. (Photos/Carolyn Doan)

And please: no drones. The birds chase them, and risk being injured.

This is their second attempt this season. Let’s help them out!

11 responses to “Oystercatcher Alert: Save Our Beach Birds!

  1. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    Is it just on Memorial Day that we have this problem?

  2. Peter Marks

    Just yesterday late afternoon, evening there was a very large group all around the cannons. It didn’t seem they were paying any attention to a protected area. But if course they’re the “entitled Westporters” it’s kind of obvious by the trash left that the parents are not policing their spot when they leave. That would take a little effort! Come on guys take some responsibility.. it’s what your children need to see.

  3. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    Also, maybe have the 06880 contributors ixnay on the drone shots for a while until the birds can repopulate.

  4. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    I hope the rec comm lady that doesn’t take phone calls reads this edition of 06880. Jen, baby it’s time to earn your pay.

  5. charles taylor

    Good for you Dan! It’s their world we’re just living in it!

  6. Richard Fogel

    Tooker is not doing her job. Remember.

    • The first selectwoman’s job does not include protecting American oystercatchers, much as they are deserving of protection.

  7. Heather Williams

    Thanks Carolyn for bringing up this issue. And thanks to the Audubon Alliance and Town Of Westport for supporting the conservation efforts. What a shame and it’s shocking to see a pile of trash on what could be a somewhat pristine beach that wildlife and people can coexsist together. There is future opportunity for the town to create more wildlife freindly habitat, as other neighboring towns and parks have already done so. Thanks again for posting.

  8. Louis Weinberg

    Thanks Dan. Thanks Carolyn. Nature wins!!!

  9. Bobbie Herman

    As my mother would say — “Did you grow up in a stable?”

  10. Merri Poster

    Why on earth would people leave garbage on the beach? Maybe its the same people igoring stop lights and stop signs around town. REALLY tired of the entitlement.