Posted 2nd Feb 2018
Following the news that the public are being encouraged to look for the oystercatcher as part of Morecombe Bay's 'Bird of the Month' initiative, we take a look at the noisy bird here
The common wader can be found at several locations, including along the coast, where they specialise in eating shellfish - particularly cockles and mussels. They will either prise or hammer these open with their strong, flattened bills.
They were originally a coastal species, but over the last 50 years, have started to move further inland to breed on waterways and lakes. Most UK birds will still spend their winters by the sea, however, where they are joined by birds from Norway and Iceland.
You would not struggle to identify an oystercatcher - they are unmistakeable, with their black and white bodies, long, red bill and pinky-red legs.
How you can help
Despite being a relatively common bird, oystercatchers rely on shellfish stocks. In some areas, they rely on populations of cockles which leave them vulnerable should cockle beds be overexploited by man - to ensure they keep the populations of oystercatchers and other waders healthy, it's vital to manage our marine environment properly. The Wildlife Trusts are doing this by working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people as a part of their 'Living Seas' initiative, which looks to help marine wildlife to thrive. This work recently received a massive boost after the passing of the Marine Bill, which is promising sustainable development for the UK’s marine environment.
Text and information courtesy of The Wildlife Trusts / image by Steve Waterhouse