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American Oystercatcher on Anacapa Island, California

Waldo G. Abbott
Publication Information
2 (March-April)
From Field and Study

American Oystercatcher on Anacapa Island, California.-On May 24, 1964, I observed several Black Oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani) on the north side of Anacapa Island, off the coast of southern California. These birds, quite to be expected on this island, were noisy, giving their whistling calls in an excited manner. Most of them appeared to be paired birds, and judging from their actions, they may have been nesting. However, also in this area, on the north side of the easternmost island, where there is a naval installation, I saw an American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus). The bird, seen from about 17.5 feet offshore, stood for a while, giving everyone in our party an excellent view. Soon it departed, flying along the edge of the water for quite a distance and then returned, calling while in flight. According to Grinnell and Miller (Pac. Coast Avif. No. 27, 1944: 133) this type of oystercatcher occurred formerly as a vagrant and apparently as an occasional resident north to Ventura County. They also state that none has been recorded since 1910 in California although it has been found south of the Mexican boundary.

Kenyon (Condor, 51, 1949: 193-199) observed oystercatchers in Lower California in April and May of 1946. He found Black and American oystercatchers interbreeding quite commonly and observed several nesting pairs where one bird was black and its mate a pied oystercatcher. It is not possible to determine whether the bird we saw was an American Oystercatcher or a hybrid of the two forms.-WALDO G. ABBOTT, Department of Ornithology and Mammalogy, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara, California, August 25, 1964. 

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