In American oystercatcher recovery, partners mean business

Bridget Macdonald
Apr 18, 2019 · 7 min read
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American oystercatcher stand out in the bird world for their striking appearance, and the specialized foraging technique they must teach to their young. USFWS
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Since few young oystercatchers even make it to reproductive age, scientists were alarmed when data showed a species-wide decline in reproductive success in the early 2000s. Shiloh Schulte
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Shiloh Schulte, American oystercatcher recovery coordinator for the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, counts birds from a bird’s-eye view during an aerial survey in 2003. Shiloh Schulte
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American oystercatcher lay their eggs in exposed sandy areas, and nest predation is one of the biggest threats to the species. But proactive measures to control predators have produced consistent results. USFWS
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This graph from the 2008 ‘Business Plan for the Conservation of the American Oystercatcher’ shows projected population-growth trajectories given different annual funding scenarios, including no funding, which would have led to a decline. In line with the projections, the American oystercatcher population has grown 23 percent in 10 years with yearly investments of about $1 million.
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The business-plan approach gives partners in the working group context for seeing how their investments in oystercatcher conservation support the big population picture. Shiloh Schulte
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The American oystercatcher business plan inspired an initiative to increase the populations of 15 other shorebird species, including red knot, by at least 10 percent in a 10-year period. USFWS

Conserving the Nature of the Northeast

We conserve nature in the northeast U.S.

Bridget Macdonald

Written by

Always looking for a good science angle.

Conserving the Nature of the Northeast

We conserve nature in the northeast U.S. for the benefit of wildlife and the American people. Love your natural and wild places! Explore the world around you by hiking, fishing, hunting, and volunteering. More info at fws.gov/northeast

Bridget Macdonald

Written by

Always looking for a good science angle.

Conserving the Nature of the Northeast

We conserve nature in the northeast U.S. for the benefit of wildlife and the American people. Love your natural and wild places! Explore the world around you by hiking, fishing, hunting, and volunteering. More info at fws.gov/northeast

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