Early Sunday, November 4, the SIB members at Charley Moore’s Backyard Birding were “cuckoo” over an extended sighting of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. It stayed around long enough for Jackie Brooks to capture a picture. We all were able to get a good look at the bird and confirm its identification.
If you are like me, when you first heard someone mention Yellow-billed Cuckoo, you thought the person was jerking your chain about some fictitious bird. (I’ll write some other time about Snipes). I looked on eBird and its descriptions says, “Brown above and white below with yellow bill. Long tail with black-and-white spots on underside. Wings flash rufous in flight. Stealthy and shy as it moves through dense forests and riparian areas. Favors tent caterpillars. Winters in South America.” So the bird exists!
In April 2016, David Gardner heard a “Yellow-billed Cuckoo” on one of SIB’s Camp St. Christopher walks. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hear it and it was too hidden in the trees to see. I still wasn’t convinced it was a real bird. Then in June 2016, Charlie Moore reported a stunned Yellow-billed Cuckoo was hanging out front of the Lake House. It stayed around long enough for him to get a picture.
I finally caught a glimpse of one at Caw Caw in August 2016 but still none on Seabrook Island for me! Fast forward 2 years, and I saw one on the SIB trip to Bear Island and Donnelly Wildlife Area on October 27. Still not on Seabrook Island! Then, last week I began receiving “Charleston County Rare Bird Alerts” for Yellow-Billed Cuckoo. Research said this alert was due to the frequency normally seen in Charleston County.
After Melanie Jerome posted our eBird list for Sunday morning, we also were included on the “Rare Bird Alert”. The eBird reviewers were quick to “Confirm” our siting with the assistance of Jackie’s picture. So now I have to put a different bird on my list to find.
Submitted by: Judy Morr
Photos by: Jackie Brooks and Charley Moore