I have been wading and paddling around NJ sedge banks and beaches for what seems like forever. I round a bend or pull up on a shoreline to stretch or stroll on an island and I am scolded. Yes, scolded by a cool lookin bird with a face that would be perfect under the bigtop. They have what looks like a carrot strapped to their faces for a beak, a bright red ring around a yellow eye, skinny legs with knots for knees.

 

American Oyster catchers seem to have a real issue with anybody trying to intrude into a zone that they have decided was all there own. And it is. I really can’t blame them as theres not that many places left for them to eat, hang out and live. They only live here on the atlantic coast, and fortunately for us, they really like NJ and with a loud mouth like that they really fit in. What’s interesting to me, is that over the years very few people that I have interacted with on or near the water mention these birds. To most folks, I guess it just looks like another seagull and that makes them even more intriguing to me.

I don’t consider myself to be a hardcore “birder” but I am fascinated to see a creature that has evolved with equipment that enables them to survive in a very harsh environment.That carrot beak enables them to root out a seaworm or break a shell in half. Those skinny legs let them cruise the beach with ease.

Next time you are out and about and you hear some shore birds yelling at you, look carefully and maybe you will be lucky enough to meet Carrot face. Peace Paul