Each year starting on December 14th and continuing through January 5th, people across the country are participating in the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC). Each count takes place on a specific day in an established 15-mile wide diameter circle, and is organized by a count compiler. Seabrook Island is part of the Sea Island SC count organized by Aaron Given, Wildlife Biologist at Kiawah Island. Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) will again support this year’s 121st annual CBC on the designated day of Monday January 4, 2021.
This past year, on January 3, 2020, 19 SIB members contributed to the 2019 -2020 CBC. A total of 98 different bird species accounting for more than 3,000 birds were sighted by our volunteers during more than 80 equivalent hours in backyards, on the beach, at the marsh and beyond.
This year we are looking for all available “backyard birders” to assist with the count. All birds observed within a 24hr period on that day can be counted. If interested, sign up here, and we will send you detailed instructions on how to record your observations throughout the day to reduce the chance of double-counting the same individuals. Please read the instructions carefully and if you have any questions, please let us know.
This winter is an irruption year for northern finches. That means that certain species that normally are not found in the south are here this winter in search of food. The normal food crops that they would have fed on up north did not produce well so the birds are forced to find food elsewhere. Some example of these species include Purple Finches, Pine Siskins, and Red-breasted Nuthatches. Evening Grosbeaks have been seen as far south as NC and northern GA. Purple Finches and House Finches are be hard to identify as they look very similar. Here is a couple of resources that I found that might be helpful in determining if you have House Finches, Purple Finches, or both. If you are having trouble, try to get a photo.
Other more uncommon species that are notable and can be found at backyard feeders include hummingbirds, Baltimore Orioles, and Painted Buntings. Don’t assume all hummingbirds are Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. During the winter, it is not uncommon for western species such as Rufous Hummingbirds, Black-chinned Hummingbird, or others to make their way to the east coast. If you have a “different” looking hummingbirds please try to get a photo of it so that it can get identified.
Please enjoy the photos taken by several SIB members during the day a couple years ago. If you are interested to participate in the 121st Christmas Bird Count on Seabrook Island on Monday January 4, 2021, register today!
Photographs Submitted by: Charles Moore, Patricia Schaefer