Oregon Black Oystercatcher Project

North, Central, and South Coast | May – August

We are offering two virtual trainings for this project: May 9 (10 a.m.-noon) and May 20 (6-8 p.m.).  Please contact Frances Buchanan at asopcoastalbirds@gmail.com to RSVP to the training you’d like to attend.

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Important changes due to COVID-19: Oregon Black Oystercatcher Project surveys are currently moving forward under the following guidelines.

  • Only conduct surveys on your own or with members of your immediate household.
  • Only volunteers from the local area on the coast will be recruited (all volunteers from the Willamette Valley and elsewhere from the interior are being asked to not assist at this time)
  • If members of the public are encountered during the survey, all social distancing policies will be adhered (remain at least 6 feet away, bring sanitizer/disinfectant with you and clean your hands before and after your survey)
  • We will not actively recruit new volunteers at this point and will mostly rely on experienced volunteers. We will not be promoting the project or posting social media of monitoring sessions. Unlike in previous years we will not have volunteers do any formal outreach to the public until the situation improves.

Any sites that are currently closed (state parks, etc.) will not be visited for surveys. These plans may change. Please contact Joe Liebezeit at jliebezeit@audubonportland.org and Frances Buchanan at asopcoastalbirds@gmail.com with questions.

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The Black Oystercatcher is a unique shorebird species that is a conspicuous and charismatic bird of the coast. Because of their small global population size, low reproductive rate, and reliance on rocky intertidal habitats, they are considered a “species of high conservation concern” and act as an indicator of intertidal ecosystem health.

Portland Audubon is monitoring Black Oystercatchers to provide new information on this species biology including an Oregon-wide population estimate, nesting success, and human disturbance factors.

These efforts are informing better protection for this species and is also an important part of our work to secure better protections for Oregon’s iconic rocky shoreline habitat and Oregon’s marine reserves and protected areas. A critical part of this project is engagement and outreach to local communities up and down the coast.

Partners: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Friends of Cape Falcon, Haystack Rock Awareness Program, U.S. Geological Survey, Friends of Haystack Rock, Audubon Society of Lincoln City, Cape Arago Audubon Society, Kalmiopsis Audubon Society

Black Oystercatcher, photo by Scott Carpenter

About the Survey

  • Survey instructions: Please read the Nest monitoring protocol for detailed instructions. Observe active nests to determine if nests are successful (eggs hatch and young leave nest)
  • When: Nest monitoring is conducted from May through August.
  • Where: 75 sites up and down the coast, from Brookings to Seaside
  • Time Commitment: We recommend twice a month or more but also can work with your schedule as needed especially if we can team you up with other volunteers to split monitoring duties up.
  • Reporting: Enter your data on a data sheet while at the site (links below) and afterward enter into the appropriate online database (links below)

 

Volunteer Requirements

  • Trainings: We provide non-mandatory in-person trainings on the North, Central, and South coast in late April and May. We will alert you to training dates after you sign up.
  • Birding skills: No experience required but you must have good vision and hearing and patience. Black Oystercatchers are easy to identify! 
  • Equipment: You must have your own pair of binoculars and, ideally, a spotting scope. Site maps are provided.
  • Field conditions: Expect surfaces varying from sand beaches and well-maintained trails to steep, overgrown slopes made slippery by weather or loose rock. Some sites may include creek crossings.
  • Transportation to and from the survey site(s) is your responsibility.

Contact

If you have any questions about this project contact Joe Liebezeit, Staff Scientist at 971-222-6121, or jliebezeit@audubonportland.org).

Other Resources and Related Projects