Mussels and Clams

What does an Oystercatcher do in the absence of oysters? Why, mussels and clams will do just fine, thank you. This Black Oystercatcher working on the south side of the North Basin on a declining tide found no shortage of these smaller shellfish.

With the mussel, it looks like the bird used its chisel beak to force the shell open by cutting the tough joint, called the foot, that keeps the halves of the shell clamped shut. With the little clam, the bird used a woodpecker attack to simply shatter its shell. Either way, it was curtains for the bivalves and breakfast for the bird.

The Willet (gray bird) frequently keeps company with Oystercatchers. Unlike gulls, which hang around to steal another bird’s catch, the Willet left the Oystercatcher alone. A true friend.

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