Catching a Break
These long-lived birds might return to the same site for 20 years, so now that we know where nests are, we can track them for years. And there is tremendous opportunity for outreach and education. During the survey Ron LeValley of Mendocino Coast Audubon observed commercial algae collectors, and he said, ‘Hey, can you just not go on these two rocks for another month until these oystercatchers fledge?’ And they agreed. California Coastal National Monument, which owns most of these islets and rocks, is very keen on developing interpretive signs, too. This project is also a wonderful way to link up what we know about the bird here with what’s happening with other populations—to look, internationally, at how climate change and changes in coasts are shifting the trajectory and destiny of the species. I truly believe that they oystercatcher is here to stay. We have this sprinkling of islets and rocks that can harbor the species forever if we steward them properly, and get a break on climate change.