Although the north is still experiencing wintery weather, spring is around the corner and oystercatchers know it. Along the coast, some are starting to head north and others that had been quietly hunkering down through cold temperatures are out on the beach, piping and jostling to find a mate and secure a territory. You can listen to their territorial piping call here.
To folks on the coast, this is one of the sounds of spring. For example, a group of oystercatchers caught beachgoers’ eyes on Wrightsville Beach during the last week of February. The birds had formed a noisy scrum and ran up and down the beach together, calling all the way. Even Green TK, who we posted about last month, was involved. That’s him in the front of the group of three on the left.
Oystercatchers use their piping displays between members of a couple to greet each other and affirm their bond. They also use these displays to establish and defend their territories and establish pairs. So, early spring is often filled with the sounds of oystercatchers setting up housekeeping for the nesting season.