While birding at South Beach in Cape Cod last week, we found some banded American oystercatchers. Above is number 52. At first, I was going to enter its information to the Bird Banding Lab (where one typically submits found band numbers), but the yellow tags with fairly easy to read numbers usually means there's a specific study. Sure enough, I went to google, entered "banded oystercatcher" and found AMOY Banding--someone is doing a specific oystercatcher study! Based on the yellow bands, I was able to figure out that this bird was banded in Massachusetts. I submitted my siting and today got this info from Shiloh Schulte of the Zoology Department of North Carolina State University :
"The bird you saw was banded on South Monomoy as a chick in July 2004. This bird overwinters on the west coast of Florida near Cedar Key. This is the first report of the bird on the breeding grounds since the year it hatched. Reports like yours really help us understand how oystercatchers move and use habitat throughout the year. Please let us know if you see more bands!"
Looking over my photos, I now see that more oystercatchers were banded, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to read the bands--at least three birds in the above photo are banded. So, if you see any oystercatchers, double check to see if they are banded. The colors are not just yellow, there's green, blue, red, and black as well.