IMPORTANT – Please Read

We are thrilled that so many people are excited about our nesting pair of Bald Eagles and their two young, but we must remind you that the nest is on private property. Safely walking along the street is fine, but DO NOT TRESPASS on private property including the empty lot and all property in the area.

Every day, throughout the day, numerous people are walking into the yards of our neighbors and into the woods to the bird’s nest tree. This is trespassing!  It has also been reported that this activity is stressing the birds, the last thing any of us want to happen. Please read the blog we published two weeks ago about “Ethical Birding” to remind yourself of the proper etiquette while birding and photographing wildlife.

Thank you for respecting the property of our neighbors and your safety!

Shorebird Stewards: Myth Busters

In 2022, we had 19 volunteers to be Shorebird Stewards on Seabrook Island. These people spent a total of 170 hours on the beach and most importantly, interacted with 746 people. We are planning an even better year this year. If you want to be part of the fun, send an email to

Some myths/concerns were heard from earlier communications. We wanted to address these concerns:

Myth: You have to know a lot about shorebirds to participate.
Response: Stewards educate people about ways to reduce human impact on birds, not bird identification!

Myth: Shorebird Stewards will be talking to people who already know all about shorebirds.
Response: Every year new people come to the beach to see dolphins or turtles
but don’t know the shorebird story. In 2022, 66% of the people who stopped by the Shorebird Steward Station were visitors to Seabrook Island. Stewards ask beachgoers to respect the shorebirds as they are feeding in the surf or resting at the inlet by not approaching the birds too closely and by walking around them. The message- “Share the Beach-Give The Birds Space”

Myth: I need to approach people to tell them about shorebirds
Response: Shorebird Stewards are trained to respond to people who approach them rather than approaching people who are not interested.

Myth: Shorebird Stewards must enforce the Seabrook Island beach rules.
Response: The stewards program asks you to be a volunteer to help educate people about the importance of our tiny piece of the world to the shorebirds that visit. This is not an enforcement effort, but an educational effort. Contact numbers for Beach Patrol and Seabrook Island Security are available to be contacted if a need arises.

Myth: Everyone knows the yellow “sanctuary” area on North Beach is to protect the sea turtles. Why do the Shorebird Stewards set up near that area?
Response: The area within the signs varies by season and the fluctuating tides. This is a “critical habitat area”. In winter, it is a shorebird roosting area where the birds may rest and conserve energy. In summer, the area may move and is where endangered species nest on scrapes in the sand. Shorebird Stewards help educate people about these uses. Loggerhead Turtles may go into the area to nest and Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol works with the Shorebird Stewards to minimize impact to the birds while also protecting the turtle nests.

Myth: I’d have to be on the beach every day, all day
Response: Shifts are in 2 hour blocks. Each person signs up for as many (or as few) shifts as they wish.

Myth: I have to complete a lot of paperwork regarding my time as a steward
Response: Our website allows you to self-schedule your shifts and makes it very easy to complete a report of your experience after each shift.

Myth: I’d have to be by myself for my shift
Response: Usually 2 people are on the beach together. You can find your own partner or you can register as a single and another single can register to join you.

Myth: People are abrasive to the Stewards
Response: The Shorebird Stewards report that 98% of the interactions are positive. Training includes how to respond to negative people.

Myth: Only children want to talk to Shorebird Stewards
Response: 89% of the interactions were with adults but often, children bring their adults so they can all hear about the birds.

Myth: I have to have a scope to participate
Response: A scope is proved to the volunteers who wish to use it.

Myth: I have to lug a scope, signs and other equipment to the inlet to complete my shift
Response: A wagon is provided for the shorebird stewards to get their equipment to the beach. Stewards do not need to walk all the way to the inlet, they can set up anywhere between Boadwalk#1 and the inlet. The provided equipment includes signs, the scope and even a chair with an umbrella. Stewards are asked to provide their own water and sun screen.

Myth: I can’t participate as I’m only on Seabrook for part of the season
Response: Although the season is from March through May (with possibility for expansion through nesting season), you schedule to volunteer based upon your availability and when you are on Seabrook.

Myth: The Shorebird Stewards are on the beach all summer in the mid-day heat
Response: The peak season is in the spring when the Red Knots are migrating through. Therefore, the season is over before the real South Carolina heat begins.

Myth: I was unavailable on February 24 for training so I can’t be a Steward
Response: If you are still interested in becoming a Shorebird Steward, send us an email ( and we’ll schedule personalized training that works for you.

Learning Together at Jenkins Point

To register click here!

Friday March 24, 2023  8:30 am – 10:00 am
Location:  Meet at First Lagoon on left
Max:  20
Cost: Free for members; $10 donation for guests – Priority will be given to prior waitlisted & members

We’ll be exploring the birds seen along Jenkins Point lagoons and streets, including wading birds, shorebirds, song birds and possibly ducks.  We’ll go from location to location via car or bike.  Since this event can be primarily by car, it is appropriate for members with mobility issues.  Meet at Jenkins Point Ct., the street after the first pond on the left.

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars/cameras, hats, beverage and sunscreen.

If you’re not yet a 2023 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $15 by following the instructions on our website: You may bring the form and your dues to the event. Or you may pay the Guest Fee of $10.

Final Reminder – Register for “Red Knots in the Southeast US” on March 23rd

Red Knots in the Southeast US:
Acting Locally, Thinking Globally

Speaker: Fletcher Smith, Georgia Department of Natural Resources

DATE: March 23, 2023,
LOCATION: Lake House Live Oak Hall (Max: 100)
7:00pm Registration & Refreshments
7:30pm Program
8:30pm Q&A and Program Close
COST: Free for 2023 SIB Member; $10/guest
(Learn How to join SIB)

Program Description:

For years we’ve told the remarkable story of the 9000 mile Red Knot migration, flying from Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America to the Arctic to breed, and making an important stop at Seabrook to rest and fatten up. But did you know that many Red Knots spend entire winters in the southeastern United States along the Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina coasts, including Seabrook Island?

Please join us to hear Fletcher Smith discuss this subspecies of Red Knots that rely on the Southeast coast’s developed beaches for most of the year before flying to the Arctic, like their more famous brethren, to breed. Fletcher has been a migratory shorebird researcher for more than 20 years, working from the high Arctic to the South American wintering grounds. He is currently a wildlife biologist with Georgia Department of Natural Resources, researching and monitoring shorebird populations along the Georgia coastal islands. Through this work, he is very familiar with the Red Knots at Seabrook and Kiawah Islands. 

Fletcher will review the life cycle of Red Knots, and their breeding season and wintering ecology. His focus will be the critical linkage that Seabrook and Kiawah provide as a stopover during all Red Knot migration, and why this is so important to this threatened species.

Speaker Biography:Fletcher Smith has worked with a diversity of bird species throughout the western hemisphere, following migrants from their breeding to winter grounds. His research projects include work with Whimbrels, Red Knots, Marsh Sparrows, and neo-tropical migrants. Fletcher currently is a wildlife biologist with Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources. He holds a B.S. in Biology from Northland College in Wisconsin, a private liberal arts college with a progressive focus on the environment and sustainability.

Be sure to register so you won’t miss this exciting event!

Also, it is not too late to join or learn more about the Seabrook Island Shorebird Steward Program!  ​We invite you to visit the Seabrook Island Birders webpage ( and visit the Shorebird Stewards tab. Sign up with your spouse or a friend, or meet new friends during the upcoming training sessions. Send an email to to join the group or ask for more information. It is a rewarding experience that you will surely come to cherish.

Ask SIB: What is Brown-headed Cowbird doing?

Question: Have researched this question to no avail! We have tons of Brown headed Cowbirds this time of year on the feeders and on the ground. Often a male or two puffs himself up, tucks his head in, and naps on the ground under the largest feeder. Seems like a risk with all the birds of prey around. If you approach, they are not startled very easily. Never seen this before and is it normal? Thanks for any input! – Paula Adamson

Answer: This is not a behavior that I am familiar with, but we can always hypothesize. During the winter months, the Brown-headed Cowbird is a social bird hanging around with birds of a feather and other blackbirds. If multiple birds hang around together, every bird does not need to be watchful for predators. There needs to be some paying attention. Those birds sound the alarm and the quick reaction time for a bird would allow them to avoid predators.

Brown-headed Cowbird – Dean Morr

If you had said that the birds fluffed themselves out, sat spread tail, and occasionally shook their head, I would have said the bird was anting. This common behavior lets ants roam over the birds body picking off parasites, but it usually does not look like sleeping.

About now, the Brown-headed Cowbird will start to pair up resulting in a whole host of displays, some to entice a mate others to define dominance. A bunch of males will go through an array of display postures which can be lifting their wings as they sing, fanning their tails, spreading their wings and bowing, or puffing up, arching their back and then move into a bow in an effort to entice a female. The male with the most moves will be the lucky one. Watch for some of these behaviors at your feeder.

While many birders revile the cowbird, they are a remarkable species. It is well known that these birds do not build their own nest, but lay their eggs in the nest of other birds who then raise their young. Scientist have documented 144 species that have raise cowbird eggs though they have seen cowbird eggs in the nests of over 220 species. Somehow once the baby is out of the nest, it recognizes that it is not the species of its adoptive parent. It then seeks out other cowbirds to hang out with at our feeders. Since we cannot do anything about their parasitic behavior, while we grumble about their abundance, maybe we should learn to watch and enjoy the uniqueness.

The Brown-headed Cowbird: An Abundant Brood Parasite (
Behavior – Brown-headed Cowbird – Molothrus ater – Birds of the World

– Bob Mercer, SIB’s “Resident Naturalist”

Postscript comment from Paula: Thanks so much for your input. I was mostly concerned that the sleeping cowbirds looked like a perfect target for birds of prey, and I was right. Bob was watching with binoculars the other day and a sleeping Cowbird was scooped up by a red tailed hawk and taken away. Of course, part of normal nature, but the Cowbirds maybe aren’t too smart? Happy bird watching everyone!

Bob’s response: “Predators can most easily take the weak, sick, or aged prey. Your cowbird probably fell into one of those categories. It would explain the odd behavior that you first noticed.”

Join SIB for Learning Together on Golf Course-Crooked Oaks

Birding the Ocean Winds Golf Course – Jackie Brooks

Monday March 20, 2023  8:30 am – 10:30 am
Birding on Crooked Oaks Golf Course
Location:  Meet at Island House (Golf Course Parking Lot next to Spinnaker Beach Houses) for ride along the golf course in golf carts
Max:  24 (If all seats in golf carts are used)        
Cost: Free for members; $10 donation for guests – Priority will be given to prior waitlisted & members

The Seabrook Island Club closes one course a day each week and allows Seabrook Island Birders to use golf carts to travel the course with our members to bird. Join us for a morning of birding by RIDING in golf carts for at least 9-holes on Crooked Oaks golf course. We expect to see a large variety of birds including Egrets, Herons and birds of prey. We will also see and hear some of the smaller birds like Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Cardinals, Carolina Wrens and some of the many warbler species.  Since it is fall/winter, we can also expect to see Eastern Phoebes, Northern Flickers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Belted Kingfishers, Double-crested Cormorants, Bald Eagles, and more!

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars/cameras, hats and sunscreen.  Water will be provided.  

If you are not yet a 2023 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $15 by following the instructions on our website: You may bring the form and your dues to the event. Or you may pay the Guest Fee of $10.

Please register no later than Friday prior to the trip.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on the Sunday, the day prior to the trip.  If you need to cancel, please let us know so we can invite people on the waitlist to attend.

Join SIB: Backyard Birding at the Village of Seabrook

Friday, March 17, 2023

Village of Seabrook

3:30 pm-5pm

Join SIB members at the Village of Seabrook Pool on March 17th, 2023. Thanks to SIB member Judy Stevens, we have gained permission to backyard bird near the pool area of Village of Seabrook. This is located on Palmetto Lake at the Lakehouse. There is a picnic table and swing to sit on, but please bring a chair. We will not be allowed in the actual pool area. We will see many egrets, herons and songbirds. The afternoon brings in many birds that are getting ready to roost for the night. Meet at the gate entrance, which is loacted from the path around Palmetto Lake, close to the Lakehouse pool side. 

Bring  binoculars and bug spray.   Limit 12-15 people.

This event is free for SIB members or 10$ for non-members.  If you would like to become a 2023 SIB member, you can follow the instructions on our website:

Once you are a member, please complete the information below to register no later than March 15.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Wednesday, September 7th.  


SIB’s Article for the March The Seabrooker

In case you don’t receive it, or haven’t had a chance to read it yet, we hope you will enjoy The Seabrooker’s March 2023 SIB article. Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) contributed a full page article on Page 4! The stories this month feature:

For Every Bird a Nest – Learn more about various nest architectures. Also see posters for upcoming Sea Island Bird Festival and the upcoming evening program “Red Knots of the Southeast: Acting Locally, Thinking Globally”

Thanks to author Mary Wilde for her educational submission. Ed Konrad continues to serve as our graphic designer and created the posters!

Join SIB: March Movie Matinee

March Movie – Register Here

Season of the Osprey
Tuesday, March 14, 2023 at 4:00 pm 
Location:  Oyster Catcher Community Center and Zoom 

“An osprey soars over a small saltmarsh at the delta of the Connecticut River. From somewhere along the east coast of South America, he has just flown 4,000 miles to the place that is imprinted on his memory since birth, the saltmarsh where he will rejoin his mate.Foxes, deer, and scores of migrating shorebirds bring summer’s hustle and bustle back to the saltmarsh as the reunited pair mates and broods their eggs. Other osprey parents see their eggs snatched by predators that prowl the night. But this osprey pair is battle-tested. Over the course of one summer, they fend off enemies, catch hundreds of fish, and raise their tiny chicks into the next generation of these consummate sea hawks.This blue-chip Nature special explores the life of this incredible raptor with a depth and intimacy never before attempted. Shot in and around Great Island Marsh, where the Connecticut River meets the Long Island Sound, filmmaker Jacob Steinberg achieved unlimited access to an osprey nest and offers a rich look at this unique species known for its life-long partnerships, dynamic social interactions and masterful hunting prowess.“Osprey are beloved birds, and yet they lacked a definitive wildlife film,” said Steinberg. “The moment I began observing the family that would become the film’s iconic subjects, I knew theirs was a story that would resonate with Nature viewers.””

Watch the trailer

Movie Matinees

Movie Matinee | The Spinal Column

Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) hosts Movie Matinees each month on the second Tuesday at 4pm. The events are now often being held both in-person and virtually.

Please register for each event to let us know how you want to attend.  After you register, you will receive an automatic confirmation with a link for Zoom, which will be resent the day of the event.  If you requested to attend in person, you will receive a email reminder the day prior the event.  Please let us know if you need to cancel.  Water and snacks will be provided at in-person events.  Feel free to bring your own beverage.

%d bloggers like this: