| June 30, 2008
Attempt at banding results in American oystercatcher chick death
According to the National Park Service’s weekly resource
management report, an American oystercatcher chick died on Sunday, June
22, during the routine banding of chicks on Cape Hatteras National
This incident is currently under review by management, the Park Service
says. Pending completion of the review, seashore Superintendent
Mike Murray has suspended further banding operations.
On June 22, an experienced bird bander from North Carolina State
University, with the help of three Park Service employees, was on the
beach banding pre-fledgling American oystercatcher chicks. One
chick, a member of a brood of three, died after a chase-and-capture of
fewer than two minutes. The other chicks in the brood were banded and
appeared to be unaffected upon release.
Earlier the same day, five other American oystercatcher chicks had been
successfully banded at three other locations. American
oystercatchers, both breeding adults and chicks close to fledging, are
banded to aid in the monitoring of the species in their breeding range,
which can help determine survival and recruitment into the
population. The fatality was the first documented in the banding
of more than 207 chicks and 120 adults at both Cape Hatteras and Cape
The chick will be sent off for a necropsy to see if the cause of death can be determined.
The National Park Service has reviewed the banding incident of June 22
that resulted in the death of an American oystercatcher
chick at Hatteras Inlet. The park has determined the researcher was
properly credentialed and followed the appropriate techniques in attempting to
capture and band the chick. The death was determined as accidental. Permission
for the researcher to band oystercatchers has been reinstated, as the park
believes the benefits of continued banding of these birds on the seashore
outweigh the risks.