The Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) began on Christmas day in 1900 by ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, who proposed a new holiday tradition—a “Christmas Bird Census” that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them. Since then, this tradition has continued to grow and the data collected is used by scientists to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America.
Aaron Given, wildlife biologist at Kiawah Island, is responsible for organizing the collection of data for the Sea Island CBC, a 15 mile radius which includes Seabrook, Kiawah, Wadmalaw and Johns Island. During the chili supper, held after a day of birding last Wednesday January 4th, Aaron announced that 152 species were identified for the entire Sea Islands CBC. There may be a couple species added after he gets a few late lists. This is close to his record of 158 since starting the Sea Island CBC in 2010.
As for Seabrook Island, our grand total was 116 bird species and over 3,000 birds for the 24-hour period, which far exceeded the previous record of less than 90 species. Thanks to a group of SIB members, we had residents of three homes who conducted Backyard Birding and four teams of people who covered six areas of Seabrook Island. Way to go team!!! Here’s a summary of the results from each team.
Rob & Melanie Jerome had 22 species, Dean & Judy Morr had 14 species and Cindy Willis with 8 species. Since a backyard on Seabrook Island is a little different than the average American backyard, our volunteers observed everything from woodpeckers and songbirds to herons, egrets, storks and loons. Thank you!
A team led by George Haskins and included Marcia Hider, Charley Moore, Russ Preston, Tori Langen and Flo Foley covered both golf courses, once in the early morning and once in the late afternoon. This was the first time the golf courses were included in the CBC. They net a total of 35 species, of which two were only seen on the golf course: the American Coot and the Cooper’s Hawk.
Aija Konrad & Justin Johnson covered 7.5 miles of ground in a 7 hour period and saw 72 species, of which 21 were only seen at this location. And although David Gardner was under the weather, he was able to get out for short periods to assist. They certainly had the largest challenge trying to cover a huge and diverse habitat which included beach, woodlands, marsh and more! Highlights included seeing all three “salty” sparrows: Saltmarsh, Seaside and Nelson’s.
Judy Morr, Flo Foley and Nancy Brown spent 5 hours walking 2 miles and driving a couple miles to spot and identify 48 species, of which 14 were unique including three Greater Yellow-legs on Jenkins Point. A visit to the Water Treatment Plant in the afternoon with David, Justin, Ed Konrad, Aija, Judy and Nancy during 90 minutes recorded 25 species. The 31 Wild Turkeys seen inside the water treatment plant may have been one of the highlights!
|American White Pelican||3|
|Great Blue Heron||31|
|Little Blue Heron||36|
|Great Horned Owl||2|