From Iceland — YES! The Oystercatcher Is Back!

YES! The Oystercatcher Is Back!

Published February 18, 2022

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
South Iceland Research Centre for the University of Iceland

The humble and hilarious Eurasian oystercatcher, known to Icelanders by the far simpler name tjaldur, has come early to Iceland this year, Vísir reports.

We have been having some awful weather here as of late, so we’re specially grateful for our comfy traditional lopapeysa sweaters, the beautiful woolen garments which have been keeping Icelanders warm for generations. They’re available in our shop, and ours are hand-knitted right here in Iceland.

Oytercatchers in Iceland typically winter in the Channel Islands, between the UK and France, and while their return does not herald the return of spring the way the plover does, the oystercatcher does typically arrive with warmer weather.

However, as the South Iceland Research Centre for the University of Iceland details, a mating pair of the birds were found in Kjós. This in all likelihood signals a new record for typical spring-summer migratory birds returning to Iceland this early in the year.

In fact, as research centre project manager Böðvar Þórisson told reporters, both of these birds had been tagged, so they are aware that one of them wintered in Iceland and the other in Guernsey. That the one who wintered elsewhere returned so early is definitely significant, and he could not recall an instance of a migratory bird returning to Iceland so early in the year.

With this sighting, it is very likely that more migratory birds will be arriving soon. Birds of course do not control the weather, though, so readers are advised not to pack away their winter gear just yet.

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