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Oyster catchers

Portrait of two oyster catchers serching for food.
Portrait of two oyster catchers serching for food.

PIEP, PIEP, PIEIEIEIEIEP, PIP, PIP ,PIEP!!
What is that high pitched shouting all about?

From my kayak, I see something in black and white flying low over the rocks. Not one but two black and white things with sharp red bills and pinkish feet.
Birds, in general, are full of life but the oystercatcher has its own category in liveliness. Usually, in pairs and seldom in a group they fly along. Hipping and hopping from one rock to the other, loud shouting and proclaiming ownership of the rock. Everything is a potential enemy, a food thief or perpetrator and must be warned their rock.
No matter how big or small you are, you are shouted at. ‘Get out of here, you rogue, you dog, this rock belongs to ME! Get out of here if you know what’s good for you! You scurvy cur! Don’t come any nearer, I warn you, I will pick you to death if you come any nearer, you cad, you knave!!!’

Two oyster catchers defending their rock by screaming loudly.
Two oyster catchers defending their rock by screaming loudly.

But there seem to be no reprisals to the uttered treads.
You don’t see many birds hanging out with oystercatchers. I mean, would you like to live next to these noisy and self-centred birds?

No attacks whenever I paddled past the heavily defended rocks. The oystercatchers just fly off, both of them, in sync. Scardy cats, they are all talk…

Charlotte Gannet

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