By Susan Heath
Hello everyone. I thought I’d give an update on the project since so many people have told me they enjoyed reading about our field season last year. Amanda Anderson, my dedicated graduate student defended her thesis in November, graduated in December, and is now working as a shorebird tech for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in Gainesville doing oystercatcher and other shorebird work. I got an e-mail from her the other day in which she reported on her first day in the field on the west coast of Florida. She is working in an area that hosts many wintering oystercatchers from the Atlantic coast and she said they saw over 1000 of them! I believe her exact words were “holy oystercatchers!” I’m really happy that this project has been able to support the work of three graduate students. All have gone off to do bigger and better things. If you would like to look through their work on the oystercatcher project you can do so here.
We were very disappointed to learn in mid-December that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation chose not to fund our proposal for follow on oystercatcher work. We have submitted several proposals to other agencies and are hoping we will receive funding in time for the 2016 field season but we have no major funding source for the 2015 season which will begin in just a few weeks. We have worked out some logistics with Audubon Texas and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will allow me to monitor the nesting pairs on a much reduced basis this year but we will not be able to support any graduate student work or conduct a full blown field season like we’ve done the last four years. Several private donors have stepped up to help support us this year but we need your help as well to gather funds to cover my salary for the time spent on this project.
To that end, I developed an Adopt-an-Oystercatcher program. For a $50 donation (or $100 for a pair), you can adopt an oystercatcher (or a pair) and I will send you a monthly progress report on how your bird is doing during the breeding season this year. If you would rather adopt a newly banded chick, you can do that too and I will notify you when there are chicks available for adoption. Keep in mind that I have no idea how many chicks will fledge or how many I will be able to band since I won’t be out there on a regular basis like I have been in years past, but I will do my best to get everyone a chick who wants one! To adopt a bird or to get more information, click here.
If you know of anyone who can contribute a larger amount to our 2015 effort, please let them know they can contribute on the Just Give website or they can contact me directly. Please designate the funds for the American Oystercatcher Research Project. We greatly appreciate all the support we get from our generous donors!