Audubon’s Great Backyard Bird Count – SIB’s activities

screen shot 2019-01-25 at 7.25.32 amEach year, Audubon hosts The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC).  The GBBC is a fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at  The 22nd annual GBBC will be held Friday, February 15, through Monday, February 18, 2019.

Seabrook Island Birders schedules numerous activities in conjunction with the GBBC.

On Sunday, February 17, four separate walks are scheduled.  You can register to participate in one or all four.

  • Sunrise Birding at North Beach – 6:30 AM – 9:30 AM
    It’s early but what can be greater than sunrise and birding on the beach. The group will meet at the Owners Beach Access Parking Lot at Boardwalk 1 then walk the 2 miles to Captain Sam’s Inlet. Those unable to walk the entire distance may turn around at any time. The group will work together to identify those hard to distinguish plovers and sandpipers. Red Knots may even be sighted. The walk is scheduled around the high tide when the birds will be consolidated on a narrower beach.
  • Maintenance Area / Equestrian Center – 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    We’ll start at the Garden Parking Lot and explore the retention ponds of the Water Treatment Facility and its borders where Hooded Mergansers, Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks and songbirds and sparrows can be seen. From there, we will walk along the horse trail (or drive) to the Equestrian Center to see Starlings and Cowbirds plus numerous other birds that can be expected there.
  • Palmetto Lake – 1:00 – 2:30 PM
    Join us to explore the birds around the Lake House and the walks of Palmetto Lake. This is less than one mile of flat, paved walk around the lake. We welcome our Seabrook Island parents to bring their children to this walk with no charge for parent or child.
  • Jenkin’s Point – 3:00 – 4:30 PM
    We will be exploring the birds seen along Jenkins Point lagoons and streets, including ducks, wading birds and shorebirds. Since this event will be primarily by car, it is appropriate for members with mobility issues.

On Monday, February 18, 9:00 am – 11:00 am, we conclude our GBBC with a “walk” on Ocean Winds Golf courseRegister here.  Join us for a morning of birding by RIDING in golf carts for at least 9-holes on the golf course. We expect to see a large variety of birds including Double-crested Cormorants, Egrets, Herons, Bald Eagles and other birds of prey. We should also see and hear some of the smaller birds like Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Cardinals and some of the many warbler species. Maybe Hooded Mergansers, Northern Flickers, Eastern Phoebe’s or some of our winter residents may also be seen.

Submitted by: Judy Morr

Learning About Our Shorebirds On North Beach

5SIB North Beach bird walk
SIB North Beach bird walk – Ed Konrad


WHEN: Friday February 1, 2019 8:00 – 11:00 am (High tide is 5:56 am)
WHERE: North Beach – Park and meet our group at the Oystercatcher Community Center at Boardwalk 1
COST: Free for SIB members or $5 donation for guests

Our local shorebird expert, Aija Konrad, will lead us on this Learning Together experience. The walk will be 2+ miles on the beach to Capn Sam’s inlet. You may turn around at any time you wish based upon your personal abilities and time constraints.

We should see Sanderlings, Dunlins, Black Skimmers, American Oystercatchers, and hopefully several types of plovers. Luckily, Ruddy Turnstones and Red Knots have begun to arrive on their journey north, so we might find them at North Beach as well

Bring sun block, bug spray, a hat, water and binoculars.

If you are not yet a 2019 SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions on our website: JOIN SIB.

All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Thursday January 31st.

REMINDER: Sign up for “Tales of a Big Year” – SIB Evening Program January 30, 2019


Big Year Ed sml (1).jpg

We know most Seabrook Island Birder members enjoy watching the many birds around Seabrook Island. On one of SIB’s bird walks we may be lucky to see 25 different species. SIB members Aija and Ed Konrad decided to make 2018 a “Big Year” and set a goal to find 500 species in 365 days within the United States.

Join us at the Lake House for another fun and informative evening with Aija and Ed’s “Tales of a Big Year – the journey to 570”, highlighting their adventures as they crisscrossed the country from coast to coast.

Many of you have met Aija and Ed as they have led bird walks on the island. Aija became an avid birder after deer invaded her award-winning gardens in Atlanta. Ed soon followed as a photographer extraordinaire of the birds they see. Their home is in Atlanta but also enjoy their condo on Seabrook Island where you can often see them on North Beach with binoculars, spotting scope and long lens camera, enjoying the various sea and shore birds.

SIB will provide beverages including wine and coffee.  We ask everyone to RSVP no later than January 27, 2019 so we will know how much wine to purchase and how many chairs to set up.

For only $10, you may join or renew your 2019 SIB membership the night of the event. Non-members will pay $5 to attend.

Don’t miss this chance to have another fun filled evening with our flock of Seabrook Island Birders!

 Learn how to join SIB 

Contact us if you have questions:

Are You Concerned About the Health or Safety of a Wild Bird of Prey or Shorebird?

Elaine & Ron Ross, of Bateau Trace on Seabrook Island, were concerned and sent SIB an email on Friday January 17th.

Hi, we have a pelican in our backyard on Seabrook Island that has been here all morning and now afternoon. It is on its stomach. When I approached it to take a picture it quickly got up on its feet and flapped its wings, then as soon as I came inside it went back down on its stomach again. Please let us know what to do. Thank you.

Our SIB Communication team responded to the Ross’s to provide the phone number of The Center for Birds of Prey (843-971-7474). As a follow-up, it was a good news story.  Here is “the rest of the story…”.

Be sure to see the full instructions on how to report a bird you are concerned for at the end of this story.

We got in touch with Mark, from The Center for Birds of Prey. He asked that we send pictures of the bird to help determine if it was in good enough health to be rescued and rehabilitated.

I was able to come from behind the bird so as not to startle it, but it saw me and got up on its feet. That actually helped us understand that it appeared to have nothing physically wrong.

As soon as I went back in the house it laid back down on its belly.

From the pictures, Mark decided it was rescuable, so we made arrangements to have someone come out to pick it up.

We noted that every time it got up it had a lot of diarrhea. So, we guessed that it had eaten something bad and was having a bad tummy day and just needed to rest.

Just after making pick up arrangements, we watched as it got back on its feet, spent a few minutes preening and stretching its wings, then made its way to the tidal creek that runs across the back of our yard. It spent time rooting around for food with its feet and slowly made its way along the waterway until we could no longer see it.

We decided it was recovering well enough and called Mark to cancel the rescue.

This whole event ran over a period of about 6 hours. We were glad it had a happy ending.

And clearly we learned it was not a Pelican as we initially stated, but rather a Wood Stork!



screen shot 2019-01-25 at 10.35.29 am
Enter a Center for Birds of Prey http://www.thecenterforbirdsofprey.orgcaption

Are you concerned about the health or safety of a wild bird of prey or shorebird on Seabrook Island (or anywhere in the Lowcountry)?


Call the Avian Medical Clinic at 843.971.7474 and press option #1 for the Injured Bird Line. You can also send an email to

We are available to assist with injured birds from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day of the week. If you need assistance after 5:00 p.m., please leave a message and we will contact you first thing the following morning. Always leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Do not handle the bird unless you are confident you can do so without injuring yourself or injuring the bird further. Injured raptors require specialized treatment and care from a Federally-licensed, experienced practitioner.

It is illegal to possess any migratory bird without state and federal permits. However, your temporary assistance is allowed in helping an injured bird reach proper care and doing so ensures its best chance for recovery and return to its natural environment.

If the bird is contained, do not offer food or water to the bird. The bird may not be strong enough to process solid food, even if it appears hungry; feeding could harm or even be fatal to the bird. Having food in its system may also preclude certain medical procedures that the bird may need.

Ask SIB – What Hawk am I?

SIB recently got an email from the Guy & Judy Gimson asking for help to identify the hawk in their photos.

Immature hawks are very challenging to identify.  However, after searching for photos and drawings in at least a half dozen bird guides, I had a guess.  But to be sure, I went to Aaron Given, Assistant Wildlife Biologist of Kiawah Island.  Below is his response:

“I believe you are correct with Red-shouldered Hawk.  Juvenile hawks can be tough but one thing that can be helpful is eye color.  If it were a Sharp-shinned or Cooper’s Hawk the eye would be bright yellow.  In other buteos, the eye is a dull green/yellow color.  Another thing to look at is the wing length.  Accipiters have relatively short wings and buteos have longer wings.  Aaron”

How did you do?  If you have a photo of a bird you can’t identify, feel free to send it to us!  Or, download the Merlin ID app, where you can upload a photo, answer a few questions, and it will present you with likely bird species. In fact, I loaded the first photo and Merlin ID suggested a Red-shouldered Hawk, with the second choice being a bird which would be rare in our area at this time, a Broad-winged Hawk.

Submitted by:  Nancy Brown
Photos by:  Guy & Judy Gimson

Bird Checklist

The Seabrook Island Birders are happy to announce that their newly updated bird checklist is available on their website at Seabrook Island Bird Checklist .  You can now print the updated version for your next birdwatching outing or to keep at your island home where you observe your feeders. No printer? No problem! The new brochures with the checklist have been ordered and should be available at The Seabrook Island Birders next meeting on January 30, 2019 at 7:00pm at the Lake House. If you can’t make the meeting, they will continue be available at the Lake House and other locations around Seabrook Island. 

FYI! On that same page of Seabrook Island Birders website, you can also find checklists for Kiawah Island and the Ace Basin.

Happy birding!

Join us and Learn Together at the Seabrook Island Maintenance Center

Register now to join us at one of our favorite places on Seabrook Island for bird watching. The maintenance area and water treatment ponds attract songbirds, ducks, wading birds, and birds of prey.  This is a short and easy walk and perfect for those who want to try birding for the first time.

Bring your binoculars and wear walking shoes that are suitable for walking in areas that may be damp or muddy. You may also want to bring your hat, water, bug spray, and sunscreen.

WHEN: Thursday, January 24, 2019, 9:00am-11:00am 

WHERE: Seabrook Island Maintenance Center

COST: Free for Seabrook Island Birders members or $5 donation for nonmembers 

Please park and meet our group in the SI Community Garden parking lot.

If you are not yet a 2019 SIB member, you can become a member for only $10 by following the instructions on our Seabrook Island Birders website. If you were a 2018 member but have yet to renew for 2019, you may renew following the instructions above or renew the day of the walk.  

Seabrook Island Maintenance Pond




Being Specific About Sparrows

We can all identify a sparrow, right? A small brown bird that you see in and around shrubbery and occasionally at your feeders. Would it surprise you to know that there are at least 35 species of sparrows and even subspecies of some of those types? And, since they are such a small and active bird, identification can be a definite challenge.   It’s no wonder they are often called LBJ….Little Brown Jobs.

Since we have several types that are common to our area in the winter, why not throw some black oil sun flower seeds on the ground around your shrubs and feeders and see if you can attract some sparrows and spot the differences. The most common that you may be seeing on Seabrook Island are the Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, the Savannah Sparrow, and the White Throated Sparrow (this one at least has a name that gives you a clue). This page from The Great Backyard Birding Count on The Cornell Lab site, Identifying Some Common Sparrows, keeps it simple by offering a quick reference to the best identifiers of some types of sparrows. 

Chipping Sparrow by Don Rash


The Chipping Sparrow has a rust red colored cap and a black line going through his eye. The adult lacks the streaked chest of some sparrows. You might also notice that he is one of the smaller of these four sparrows. 




Savannah Sparrow by Judy Howle

The Savannah Sparrow is another small sparrow, but with streaking on its chest. You will have to catch the yellow eyebrows and whitish crown stripe to correctly identify him. 




Song Sparrow by Aileen Barnes

The Song Sparrow has more prominent streaking on its chest that comes together in one central dark spot. Besides possibly being a little larger than the other sparrows, you may notice him scratching simultaneously with both feet to expose seeds.


White-throated Sparrow by Don Rash


A white throat and yellow patch between the eye and bill might be the best ways to identity the White-throated Sparrow. This larger sparrow also has a gray breast. However, you might identify the song first as he sings “Sweet Sweet Canada, Canada, Canada”.

So keep your binoculars and bird books handy and challenge yourself to identify some specific types of sparrows this winter.

Submitted by: Joleen Ardaiolo

Photos from The Great Backyard Birding Count on The Cornell Lab site, Identifying Some Common Sparrows

Learning Together at Jenkins Point

Thursday, January 17 at 10:00am – Jenkins Point
Location: Meet at First Lagoon on left
Max: 20
Cost: None for 2019 members; $5 donation for guests

Register to join us for a Learning Together on Jenkins Point.

The Roseatte Spoonbills continue to roost at the lagoon near the curve. A Coopers Hawk has been seen repeatedly on a branch on the left. A “rare” Red-breasted Nuthatch has been seen multiple times on Old Wharf. Seems like enough history to schedule a “last minute” Learning Together on Jenkins Point. The Roseatte Spoonbills are reported to arrive late morning so the walk has been scheduled accordingly. Hopefully we’ll see the birds mentioned above plus the Black-crowned Night Herons, ever popular Great Egrets and numerous songbirds. You can come on your bike, walk along the road or go from place to place in your car. Your choice of transportation as we traverse about a half mile down the road.

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

If you are not yet a 2019 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $10 by following the instructions on our website: If you were a 2018 member but have yet to renew for 2019, you may renew following the instructions above or renew the day of the walk. Or you may pay the Guest Fee of $5.

Join SIB to Watch “The Big Year”

In preparation for SIB’s first evening event of 2019 on January 30th, at which Aija & Ed Konrad will share their 2018 experience of birding throughout the US, we thought it would be fun to watch the 2011 move, “The Big Year.”

The storyline (as found on IMDB):

the big year“In birding, a Big Year is seeing or hearing as many different species of birds as possible in a calendar year. Three men pursue the Birder of the Year title: Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson), who’s seen a record 732 in a past big year, Stu Preissler (Steve Martin), newly retired, and Brad Harris (Jack Black), who narrates the story. Life gets in the way: Bostick’s wife wants a baby, Stu’s firm needs him for sensitive negotiations, and Brad, divorced and underemployed at 36, has an encouraging mom and a disapproving dad. They criss-cross the continent (including a trip to Alaska’s westernmost island), follow migration patterns, and head for storms that force birds to ground. Who will win, at what cost, and with what rewards?”

Watch “The Big Year” trailer !

SIB will provide the popcorn and snacks! You can bring pillows to make the chairs more comfy and BYOB. Please SIGN UP to join us for this fun afternoon that will be full of laughs!

Tuesday January 22, 2019 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Location: Osprey 1, Lake House, Seabrook Island, SC
Max: 25
Cost: FREE, but you must be a member of SIB (You may join at the event)

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