American Oystercatchers – Juvenile and Adult

/, Bird ID, Birds, Florida, Fort De Soto County Park, Pinellas County/American Oystercatchers – Juvenile and Adult

American Oystercatchers just after sunriseAmerican Oystercatchers just after sunrise (Left: Juvenile, Right: Adult) – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/500, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm at 400mm, handheld, natural light

This image always makes me smile when I view it because it brings back such nice memories. I watched this American Oystercatcher juvenile and its sibling from the time they were just tiny chicks beginning the day after they had hatched. While they were very young I kept a lot of distance between the chicks and I, taking larger crops than usual because I did not want to disturb the adults or the young. After a few weeks the chicks would come as close to me as the adults did, of course I was usually laying down in the sugar sand to make myself as small as possible and to get a very low angle and the birds did not seem to mind my presence.

Normally I do not try to center my subjects in the frame but in this case centering them added impact to the image because of the similar poses, the repetition of the reflections on the wet sand and the ripple that caused the distortion of the reflections. Framing the oystercatchers in this way made the image stronger than if the birds had been further left or right in my opinion.

The juvenile American Oystercatcher differs from the adult because the eye is dark instead of bright yellow and the young bird does not have the red orbital ring. The bills are also different, the adult’s bill a solid reddish orange while the immature oystercatcher has a dark tipped bill with faint dark tones all the way to where the bill meets the face.



  1. zephyr May 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    What a wonderful capture!

    • Mia McPherson May 7, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      Thank you very much zephyr!

  2. Nicole MacP July 24, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Love it, neat to see the comparison, what a great shot!

    • Mia McPherson July 24, 2011 at 8:04 am

      Thanks Nicole, I think American osytercatchers are interesting & wonderful birds!

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