Judy and Dean Morr moved to Columbia, South Carolina, from their native Ohio (they met at The Ohio State), in 1984 seeking winter warmth. He was as an architect and she was involved with computer software. When they could get away, they’d sneak off to Kiawah for beach time. However, when it came time to contemplate retirement, they opted for a home on Seabrook which they bought before retiring. She became a tele-commuter here and he spent Monday-Friday commuting to Columbia for a year or so. They were not birders though he had long been into woodworking. His specialty was birdhouses and feeder for others.
The former Lakes and Wildlife Subcommittee of Environmental maintained a few houses for Eastern Bluebirds around the Lake House with Jackie Mowat as the caretaker. There was also a group, led by Joan Hylander, who informally tended numerous bird houses on Crooked Oaks. Both Joan and Jackie were looking to ‘retire’ about the time the Morr’s moved to the Island. In some manner, Judy learned there was this job opening. She was looking for something interesting to occupy Dean’s future retirement time. She volunteered to be the new caretaker, but only until Dean was on-Island a year or so hence. L&W gladly accepted her offer.
Dean is still in project management, but as coordinator for maintaining and monitoring more than 75 Eastern Bluebird boxes, on three golf course trails plus one at the Lake House. He built and, accompanied by David Gardner, installed 12 additional bluebird houses last month for a new trail at Camp St Christopher. He builds new boxes as needed, repairs damaged boxes, oversees a troop of monitors who visit the boxes weekly gathering nesting information, and keeps the records. The details are on the SIB website, but, in the 2016 nesting season, 359 fledgling Eastern Bluebirds and 106 Carolina Chickadees emerged from those boxes. Dean has also blended his program into the fledgling (pun intended) Seabrook Island Birders organization and is becoming an accomplished photographer of our many feathered friends. He has also become a member of the SIPOA Environmental Committee and recently completed an inventory report for properties purchased by Seabrook Island Green Space Conservancy.
Judy has recently retired from the tele-commuting duties. The interesting thing is that the bird watching bug bit Judy as well. She and Dean were part of the nine person group which started organizing Seabrook Island Birders 18 months ago. She now serves as the chair of the SIB Activities Committee. Judy’s skills as a bird watcher haves progressed amazingly — I was the leader of her first bird walk in January 2016 around Palmetto Lake. In addition, she is very active with the Islands’ Turtle Patrol and can, I understand, often be found at the end of Boardwalk 8 watching one of Seabrook’s fantastic sunsets.
By the way, the two of them have a private bluebird trail, I’m told, as well as one active nest (see picture) in their front yard. Further, their backyard is a haven for birds (including Wild Turkeys and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds). These two relative newcomers are major contributors to maintaining a good environment for the Island’s wildlife.
Submitted by George Haskins