Backyard Bird Book …

In December 2019, Joleen Ardiaolo wrote Bird and Birding Books for Children to help those looking for ideas for gifts for younger birders (fledglings?). SIB member Bette Popillo has since shared this update….

Greetings once again, fellow shorebird lovers!
As I have said before, anyone who loves shorebirds also loves all birds. And often this love for birds is shared with one’s family and friends.  For instance, all of my grandchildren well know that Nonnie loves birds and when they are at my house they regularly watch my birdfeeders and learn from me the names of the birds that arrive there.

So for this reason, I just had to share with you this wonderful book. I was immediately delighted and impressed at my first reading of it. 23 birds are included in playful rhyming verse.  It is a quality book in every way! Delightful, whimsical, colorful, and fun!  The illustrations are beautiful collage art which is even explained in the back of the book.  

It would definitely be an excellent gift for grandchildren! Check out her webpage at https://www.ldonovanbooks.com/, and maybe consider purchasing a book there for any loved child in your life!

The author has a home on Kiawah and she and this same illustrator are currently working on a second book about shorebirds! Yay!!!👏👏👏 Of course, I will keep you posted about that!

The free bird checklist and coloring pages on the website are great to print for the little ones in your life too!
Enjoy!
Bette

An Ode to Weird Duck Time

My neighbor, Charles Russo, notes the date each year when the Hooded Mergansers come back to our lagoons on Loblolly Lane. Just before Thanksgiving is when we start looking for the small recognizable ducks. This year on November 18th, less than a week before Thanksgiving, Charles called to let me know that he had spotted our first Hooded Merganser in our Loblolly Lane lagoon.

Since we only see ducks on Seabrook Island and the surrounding area during the winter, they are a welcome treat on our ponds and lagoons. Look for the Pied-billed Grebe on Palmetto Lake or Buffleheads and Red-breasted Mergansers in the lagoon near Captain Sams cut on North Beach. Just today I spotted two pair of beautiful Wood Ducks in the pond behind my house.

Enjoy this delightful article (An Ode to Weird Duck Time) by cartoonist Rosemary Mosco. She has illustrated 3 of the ducks that we see locally and captured perfectly why you might see a bunch of crazy birders hiking out to North Beach in freezing weather to look for a Surf Scoter.

Submitted by: Joleen Ardaiolo

In Person SIB Movie Matinees Return: Hummingbirds

Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) plans to continue our Movie Matinees each month on the second Tuesday at 4pm. 

Please register if you would like to attend. You will receive an automatic confirmation with a link for Zoom. It will be resent the day of the event.

We will also offer in-person event held at the Oystercatcher Community Center on Seabrook Island. Please indicate on your registration you plan to attend in-person and we will confirm with you two days before the event.

December Movie – Register Here

Hummingbirds
Tuesday, December 13, 2022 from 4:00-5:00 pm

Location: Zoom & Oystercatcher Community Center

David Attenborough takes us into the remarkable lives of hummingbirds via stunning slow motion photography. Everything about these tiny birds is superb and extreme. They have the highest metabolism, fastest heart beat and most rapid wing beat in the avian world. They evolved to feed on flowering plants but are now a crucial part of wider ecosystems. How do they mate, raise their young, and live? (2013)

Watch the Trailer: Hummingbird Trailer

SIB’s Article for the December The Seabrooker

In case you don’t receive it, or haven’t had a chance to read it yet, we hope you will enjoy The Seabrooker’s December 2022 SIB article. Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) contributed a full page article on Page 4! The stories this month feature:

November on North Beach – Learn more about Aija and Ed’s wonderful recent sitings . Also see posters for two upcoming evening programs.

Thanks to author Aija Konrad and photographer Ed Konrad for their awesome submission. Ed also serves as our graphic designer!

SIB “Bird of the Week” – House Finch vs. Purple Finch

House Finch
Carpodacus mexicanus
Length:  6″
Wingspan: 9.5″
Weight: 0.74 oz.

Purple Finch
Haemorhous purpureus
Length:  6″
Wingspan: 10″
Weight: 0.88 oz.

Surprisingly, the House Finch was originally confined to the west and known as a Linnet until being introduced as a caged bird in several pet stores in Long Island in the 1940s. Currently it is one of the most common birds in North America surpassing even the House Sparrow. Although originally indigenous to the deserts and plains of the west, they are now equally happy perched on your bird feeders or the railings on your back deck. The male has a brown cap and a bright red to orange under the beak and on the front of the head. The female is predominantly grayish brown with 2 narrow whitish buff bars on her wings. In the winter, the birds assume a more worn look with a strong muting of their distinctive colors.

The song of the male is longer than the female and has a varied high-pitched scratchy warble composed of chiefly three-note phrases, many ending with rising inflections.

House Finch love sunflower seeds, millet and thistle.

Similar to the House Finch is the Purple Finch. They belong to the same family Fringillidae but the species name is  Haemorhous purpureus. They are about the same size as the House Finch but are migratory and can be found in our area only in the winters at our bird feeders. They are chunkier than the House Finch and are (like their name) predominantly purple. The females on the other hand are more brownish gray than the female House Finch and have a whitish eye line.

The Purple Finch is the bird that Roger Tory Peterson famously described as a “sparrow dipped in raspberry juice.” Aija Konrad says that the Purple Finch looks like it “fell into a glass of red wine”.  Which description do you relate to best?

The Purple Finch song sounds like this.

Click on the images below to learn more about the visual differences between these two species of finch and read all about them in the article on Audubon’s website.

HOUSE FINCH

PURPLE FINCH

To learn more about each of these birds, visit the sites below:

Article submitted by:  Ron Schildge
Photographs provided by:  Ed Konrad & Audubon

This blog post is part of a series SIB will publish on a regular basis to feature birds seen in the area, both migratory and permanent residents.  When possible we will use photographs taken by our members.    Please let us know if you have any special requests of birds you would like to learn more about.

Reminder: SIB Presents Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks and Limpkins … are SC residents

Date: Wednesday December 7, 2022
Registration starts 7:00pm. Program starts 7:30pm
Location: Live Oak Hall, Lake House, Seabrook Island, SC
Program Fee: Members $0, Guests $10.00
Attendance: Limited to 100 members

If you are not a 2022 or 2023 SIB Member,
you can first join/renew for $15/year

Roseate Spoonbill, flamboyant with bright pink feathers, red eye staring from a partly bald head, giant spoon-shaped bill! Wood Stork, soaring on thermals with outstretched neck and legs, at 3 ft tall towering above other wetland birds! Limpkin, its long bill adapted for removing snails from shells, and unforgettable haunting cry! These fascinating birds, two that we enjoy seeing frequently on Seabrook, were once restricted to Florida. Now they all reside and nest in SC!


Craig Watson, bird guide and recent retiree from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service after 33 years of dedicated bird and habitat conservation, will be our guest. Craig will discuss these fascinating species’ decline and now subsequent increase in population, along with the reasons and implications of their range expansion to SC. Join us to hear Craig’s informative program, along with some enjoyable social time with Seabrook Island Birders’ members and guests!

 The program is limited to 100 SIB members. SIPOA COVID protocol will be followed.

Questions? Email us at: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com 

Craig Watson currently resides in Charleston County South Carolina where he previously worked as a full time migratory bird biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Now retired (September 2022), Craig moved to South Carolina 33 years ago and began his career with the U.S. Forest Service managing Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, particularly after Hurricane Hugo decimated the habitat and population of the woodpeckers. Craig transitioned into his most recent position with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 25 years ago, where his primary duties were securing funds for bird habitat conservation from North Carolina to Puerto Rico. His most recent collaborative effort is the newly released Black Rail Conservation Plan and working with partners on the Atlantic Coast for the conservation of Black Rail.

Craig currently serves as the Chair of the Grants Committee of the Carolina Bird Club, and he works part time for Ventures Bird Tours. He is also a volunteer for Audubon South Carolina, leading local trips, and he is a trip leader for various birding festivals in the US, including the North Shore Birding Festival in Lake Apopka area in Florida, and The Biggest Week in American Birding on the shores of Lake Erie. Craig participates in many Christmas Bird Counts, and leads other local birding activities including Seabrook Island Birders’ Learning Together bird walks. Craig spends most of his time exploring and birding, and spreading the word about birds!

Join SIB for Learning Together at Kiawah River

Sunday, December 4, 2022 8:00am-11:00am
Learning Together at Kiawah River 
Location:  Meet at the “bridge” entering the property
Cost None for members; $10 donation for guests

Register Now

Another chance to check out birds that can be found on this varied habitat  property.  We expect to see a large variety of birds including Double-crested Cormorants, Egrets, Herons, Osprey and other birds of prey. If we are lucky, we will see an eagle and osprey duel over a fish. As we enter the property, we hope to catch a glimpse of the resident American Coots and Loggerhead Shrikes.  We should also see and hear some of the smaller birds like Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Cardinals.  We will drive to various locations on the property and then walk for better birding observations.  Of course ,this also gives us a chance to see this neighboring development.

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars, hats, water and sunscreen.  

If you are not yet a 2022 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $15 by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/. You may bring the form and your dues to the event. Or you may pay the Guest Fee of $10.  You can also use the link above to renew your membership for 2023.

Please register no later than Friday, December 2, 2022.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on the day prior to the event.

SIB “Bird of the Week” – American Goldfinch

American GoldfinchSpinus tristis
Length:  5″; Wingspan: 9″; Weight: 0.46 oz.

American Goldfinch - Charles J Moore
American Goldfinch – Charles J Moore

This small finch is commonly found in flocks on Seabrook Island during the winter months (November – March) on backyard feeders, along the golf courses or anywhere there are weed seeds.  It has a sharply pointed bill, a small head, long wings and a short, notched tail.

Those of you who are familiar with this bird during breeding season (when the male has a bright yellow body and black cap, wings and tail), may not recognize them in their winter plumage.  The winter male has olive-gray to olive-brown upper parts, paler underparts, yellow shoulder bar, white wing bar, dark conical bill and may show black on its forehead and yellow on its throat and face.  The winter female is duller with buff wing and shoulder bars and lacks yellow and black on the face and head.  This drastic change in plumage is a result of the American Goldfinch, the only member of its family, having two complete molts each year, one in the fall and one in the spring.

American Goldfinches are among the strictest vegetarians in the bird world only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect.  It feeds primarily on seeds, including seeds from composite plants (sunflowers, thistle, asters, etc), grasses and trees.  At feeders they favor nyjer and sunflower seeds (hulled).  In both situations it prefers to hang onto seed heads or feeders rather than feeding on the ground.

American Goldfinches are often described as active and acrobatic.  They are also easily identified by their undulating flight pattern of several rapid wing beats and then a pause.  Listen for their flight song while they are flapping, which sounds like po-ta-to-chip.

A group of goldfinches has many collective nouns, including a “007”, “charm”, “rush”, “treasury” and “vein” of goldfinches.

Keep an eye out for the American Goldfinch, as they will be leaving soon to head north to breed and will return when the weather up north gets cold again next fall. (See the range map following the photographs below.)

If you would like to learn more about this bird visit The Cornell Lab of Ornithology – All About Birders: American Goldfinch and Birds of Seabrook Island: American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch in winter - Bob Hider
American Goldfinch in winter – Bob Hider

American Goldfinch spring molt - Bob Hider
American Goldfinch spring molt – Bob Hider

American Goldfinch spring molt- Bob Hider
American Goldfinch spring molt- Bob Hider

Range Map of American Goldfinch - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Range Map of American Goldfinch – Cornell Lab of Ornithology

SIB for Backyard Birding at Cat Tail Pond *correction*

December 1 st , 9am – 11am

Come join us in Paula and Bob’s Adamson’s back yard. They live right on the golf course and have 6 feeders plus a birdbath and 2 bluebird boxes. They even have 2 owl boxes. Many birds can be seen from the deck or the yard.  In addition to birds,  Paula says they have lots of  turkeys, squirrels, bunnies raccoons and possums.

As always, be sure to bring your water, binoculars, hats and sunscreen.  

If you are not yet a 2022 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $15 by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/.   or you may pay the Guest Fee of $10.

Please complete the information below to register no later than Monday November 29th  at 10am.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Wednesday, November 30.

REGISTER 

Join SIB for Backyard Birding at Cat Tail Pond

December 1 st , 9am – 11am

Come join us in Paula and Bob’s Adamson’s back yard. They live right on the golf course and have 6 feeders plus a birdbath and 2 bluebird boxes. They even have 2 owl boxes. Many birds can be seen from the deck or the yard.  In addition to birds,  Paula says they have lots of  turkeys, squirrels, bunnies raccoons and possums.

As always, be sure to bring your water, binoculars, hats and sunscreen.  

If you are not yet a 2022 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $15 by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/.   or you may pay the Guest Fee of $10.

Please complete the information below to register no later than Monday November 29th  at 10am.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Wednesday, November 30.

REGISTER 

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