Last week while sitting near the shoreline at the beach, I heard a squawking that caught my attention. I looked up to see a bird with a long red bill running along in the surf. This was no Seagull. I grabbed my camera and walked closer to the edge of the water to capture some shots.
This beautiful bird is called an Oystercatcher. It is specialized in feeding on bivalves (oysters, clams, and mussels) and uses its brightly colored bill to get at them. Seen along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast beaches, I was told by someone on the beach that they have nests under the boardwalk.
The name Oystercatcher was coined by Mark Catesby in 1731 as a common name for the North American species described as eating oysters. In 1843 this name was established as the preferred term, replacing the older name sea pie.