• Museum volunteers aid with oystercatcher monitoring

    The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History has partnered with two organizations to boost black oystercatcher monitoring in Monterey County.

    The California Audubon Society and the California Coastal National Monument monitor black oystercatchers, a sea bird that primarily feeds in tide pools, for their nesting habits. The birds are also monitored for their breeding success rates, the size of their territories, and breeding interactions.

    “Museum volunteers and California Naturalist students were asked to join,” said Museum Education Manager Ann Wasser. In all, approximately 15 volunteers signed on, she said. Those volunteers are currently undergoing training in the specifics of black oystercatcher monitoring before they can officially collect data.

    “Oystercatchers naturally have a fairly low nesting success rate,” Wasser said. “Because we have such easy coastal access in this area, human disturbance drives their nesting success rate down even more. If we can learn more about where they’re nesting, their nesting habits and help reduce human disturbance, then hopefully we will see increased nesting success.”

    In the county, oystercatcher monitoring can be found at Point Lobos and around Monterey Bay. Monitoring includes a minimum of 30 minutes a week from mid-March through the end of June. Collected data will be sent to the California Audubon Society.

    BlackOysterCatcher-1Black oystercatchers, Haematopus bachmani, can often be found in coastal areas like the rocky intertidal zones at Asilomar State Beach and Point Lobos State Natural Preserve throughout the year.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on March 17, 2015

    Topics: Front PG News, Green


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