We live in Perilous Times. How often have you heard that phrase? I think each generation has heralded these headlines on more than one occasion. It has always been perilous for the birds though. In the ancient Garden of Eden the Eagle was just sitting there eating fruit and leaves next to the sparrow and the next thing you know they are thrown out into the weeds and thorns and it is sparrow fricassee for lunch. It has been a bird eat bird world out there ever since. Life goes on though, even through the perilous times.
I paid a few visits to Huguenot Park this past week to see the nesting shorebirds. Thousands of birds nest there this time of year. The Laughing Gulls were the most numerous that I saw. The Black Skimmers and Royal Terns were also nesting. Each morning I saw tell tale signs though of the predator birds. Heads torn off, wings here and there, sure signs of a Great Horned Owl having a feast on the gulls. One particular pair of birds caught my eye, one that I have been hoping to catch through the lens. The American Oystercatcher is rarely seen on the Broward. However, there was one nesting pair on the beach. The park rangers said they had laid three eggs, which had all hatched, but by the next day marauding gulls had eaten two of them. I saw the parents closely guarding the remaining offspring.
Per the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology we find this: “A large, boldly patterned bird, the American Oystercatcher is conspicuous along ocean shores and salt marshes. True to its name, it is specialized in feeding on bivalves (oysters, clams, and mussels) and uses its brightly colored bill to get at them”. I observed it also digging in the sand for insects to feed the hatchling. The baby oystercatcher was a cute little bird and had to duck and cover on more than one occasion as I observed gulls come too close only to be swiftly attacked by the parents. I sure hope the little bird survives the summer.
On the way back home I also spotted a pair of Osprey who had built a nest on the drawbridge signal light and had just hatched little ones. Talk about perilous places. Those fledging Ospreys won’t survive a fall from the nest with that bridge traffic going underneath them. Sounds like we need a bird savior too! Oh, they have one. Won’t they be glad to one day just sing for joy. Me too! Be blessed. Harry