We were back in Gwaii Haanas June 25-29 to complete a second round of oystercatcher surveys. We revisited all known territories and also identified 10 new breeding territories. On this visit, many of the eggs that we had located previously had now hatched chicks were found hiding amongst the rocks at many of the territories. Oystercatchers feed their chicks a variety of hard-shelled invertebrates, mainly limpets, chitons and mussels. When present, we collected prey remains at the territories and counted the samples back at camp to quantify what hard-shelled prey the chicks were being fed. At one territory in the Bischofs we had the unique opportunity of observing chicks being fed by their parents.
The oystercatcher surveys that we conduct are helping gather baseline data for the Gwaii Haanas Night Birds Returning project. This project aims to restore seabird nesting habitat on several islands in Gwaii Haanas through the eradication of introduced Norway and Black Rats. Eradication will take place on the Bischof Islands and Arichika Isand this summer. One of our staff, Ainsley Brown, will be assisting with the Night Birds Returning project once the Limestone field season wraps up.