The American Oystercatcher was once a common bird inhabiting coastal marshes, beaches, and islands along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. However, its long-term prospects are now in jeopardy, with a population of only about 10,000 birds irregularly distributed between Maine and Texas. Some studies show that the oystercatcher population is declining at a rate of 1 percent per year.
NFWF's American Oystercatcher Conservation Program, developed in 2008, aims to increase the Atlantic and Gulf Coast population of American Oystercatchers by 30 percent over the next 10 years. This would provide a robust foundation for the species in the face of anticipated sea-level rise and coastal changes associated with global climate change and other human influences. Efforts directed towards American Oystercatchers will also notably benefit more than a dozen other bird species of high conservation priority.
Key conservation strategies for the American Oystercatcher include:
- Focus on specific locations within coastal states between Massachusetts and Texas;
- Manage predation;
- Manage disturbance;
- Manage and acquire habitat;
- Assess reproductive success, survival, and population size; and
- Assess potential effects of climate change.
For more detail on priority activities, please see the American Oystercatcher Business Plan.