Corrected: Ask SIB: Nesting Brown Pelicans

Brown Pelicans roosting in trees at Sanibel Island. Photo by Ron deAndrade

This is being republished to correct the issue with some of the photos.


Q: We recently (April) returned from Sanibel, Fl . We noticed most Pelicans were in pine trees, near the top. I never see our Pelicans in trees on Seabrook. Is this from lack of beach trees or something else?

Thanks, Ron deAndrade, Pelican Watch


A: Brown Pelicans preferred nest sites are in mangroves, usually 2-3 meters above the ground. They may reuse these nests in subsequent years. On Deveaux Bank, the largest pelican rookery in SC, many do nest in wax myrtles. However, myrtles are not abundant and hundreds also nest on the ground.

Cheers – enjoy our pelicans!

Carl Helms

Here are several pelicans on nests in the myrtles…
Here is a nest on the ground…
Here is another pelican in a mangrove in the Galapagos Islands. Not nesting but roosting and preening but in a tree.
And finally, here’s more pelicans in trees. Seabrook, winter 2010. 14th tee, Ocean Winds

Ask SIB: House Finch

House Finch
Question:  I’m reaching out to some birder friends so that I can better understand what’s happening on my back porch.  We had a pair of house finches build a nest in the corner of our porch this spring.  It was great fun watching them nurture their eggs, feed the chicks and nudge their young out of the nest.  Could hardly believe how fast those chicks grew!  It’s been about 3 weeks since they fledged and the house finches are now back tending the nest.  Are they having another set of young or is this another pair of house finches that has taken over the nest?  It’s possible to see the adults sitting in the nest and we catch them as they fly in and out.  But, even on a ladder, it’s really hard to see into the nest itself.  Can you offer any help or suggest a website that might help us?  Thanks so much.
Janet and Ray

Answer:  We don’t think you can know if it is the same pair or different.  This site says they will use another bird’s nest but will also have 1 – 6 broods in a year.

Shorebird research underscores importance of South Carolina beaches

This past spring, members of the Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) assisted the SC Department of Resources (DNR) to band the federally threatened Red Knots on Seabrook Island’s North Beach.  Felicia Sanders of SC DNR wrote to SIB, “Thanks for all the help with the Red Knot work. Please forward to others that I missed. Here is a press release about some of the findings. Thanks Ed Konrad for the photo! Felicia”

Here is an excerpt from the press release highlighting the importance of beaches like ours in South Carolina.

“Over the last few decades, red knots have declined by nearly 85%. This drastic decline led to the red knot receiving federal protection under the Endangered Species Act in 2015. Disturbance and food availability, especially during migration, are suspected reasons for the drop in numbers.

“Since 2010, SCDNR biologists have conducted research on red knots to understand the role that South Carolina plays in these birds’ journeys. Researchers and volunteers have captured hundreds of knots, measuring them them and placing field-readable engraved bands on their legs. These unique markers on each bird allow biologists to track individual birds if they are re-sighted anywhere in the hemisphere. Documenting how South Carolina’s resources are being utilized by red knots may help efforts to conserve this vulnerable species.”

This image, a collaborative effort between SCDNR, Ron Porter, Larry Niles, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, shows the one-year migration path of a red knot.
This image, a collaborative effort between SCDNR, Ron Porter, Larry Niles, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, shows the one-year migration path of a red knot. This bird was captured in South Carolina in 2016 on Deveaux Bank and a geolocator was affixed to its leg. During the life of its transmitter, the bird traveled 2x to its nesting grounds above the Arctic Circle and 2x to its wintering grounds in Tierra Del Fuego, Chile at the southern tip of South America. The bird was captured again in January 2018, and the geolocator was retrieved.

Remember: Our beaches are home for resident (including nesting) and migratory shorebirds.  Among them are endangered and threatened species such as Least Terns, Wilson’s Plovers, Piping Plovers and Red Knots. These birds do not read signs as far as we know, and thus may gather and feed outside protected habitat areas. Bird watching is great, but they need space. If they fly up, you are too close.

The brochure “Respect Seabrook Island Shorebirds and Habitat” is a recent joint venture of SIB, SIPOA, Town, SC DNR, and USFWS and is an excellent guide for those residents and visitors enjoying our beaches. Pick up a copy at the Lake House, Amenity Office, or SIPOA and Town offices.

Nursery on North Beach

We are excited to announce that several of our SIB members have detected both the Least Terns & Wilson’s Plovers have successfully nested this year on North Beach.

18 06 SBI-4236
Wilson’s Plover parents and chicks on North Beach.  Photo by Ed Konrad
Aija Konrad wrote, “Yesterday (Friday June 15, 2018), was a very exciting day on our beach….Ed and I found both Least Tern and Wilson’s Plover chicks! We saw 3 baby plovers with parents and we saw about 3 Least Tern chicks in various stages of maturity. Some of the terns even buzzed our heads, warning us we were too close. We were very careful not to go anywhere near the new residents, staying below the high tide line. Least Tern and Wilson’s Plover are SC threatened species. This is the first time Ed and I have seen chicks on our beach in the 10 years that we have been birding here. Hooray!!!

Continue reading “Nursery on North Beach”

SIB Events in June

SIB members and family visitors enjoyed learning about the birds that we see and hear on our golf courses – Andy Brown

SIB has three birding events planned for June and we hope you will consider joining us! Each one has minimal walking as we have two “Backyard Birding” events held at the home of a member and one birding event on the golf course using golf carts.

To learn more about each activity and to register, click on the links below:

June 2018

Also, join our SIB Google Group to receive an email about short-notice bird walks and interesting bird sightings! Last week a few of us took a bike ride to bird the West Ashley Greenway and saw 52 bird species!

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