Join SIB for our August Virtual Events

With the heat of the summer and the need to still social distance, Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) has scheduled two “Virtual Movie Matinees” and an Evening Program using Zoom during the month of August!  And the best part is you don’t even have to be on Seabrook Island to join!

Once you register, we will send you a link the day prior to each event to allow you to access our Zoom live video. We will open each event with introductions and a little social time, watch the  show together (generally an hour), and finish with a short discussion to get your feedback and answer questions.

Sign up for one, two or all three of our events, then plan to get comfy in your favorite chair with snacks and beverages of your choice to enjoy our gathering!

Movie Matinee: The Saga of the White Tailed Eagle on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 at 4:00 – 5:30 pm

The sea eagle was once widespread throughout almost all of Europe and graced the coats of arms of many different countries. During the 19th and 20th centuries it was driven to the brink of extinction by hunting, the increased use of pesticides and the destruction of its habitat. This touching animal drama recounts the true life story of one individual bird, observed over the course of a year. Beginning with its birth in a lowland forest in Central Europe the film team follows the eagle’s first outing with its brothers and sisters and subsequent distant migrations to places as far away as Scandinavia. Finally it chronicles its dramatic lead poisoning, recovery and resettlement in a nature reserve.

Evening Program: Seabrook Island Shorebirds on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Do you enjoy going to the beach to watch birds but then find yourself frustrated with trying to identify the small shorebirds that run along the edge of the surf? Join this special “virtual” program, with Naturalist Bob Mercer, to learn about the shorebirds that call our island home. He will provide you with simple clues to help you learn the very challenging sandpipers and plovers often seen on our beach, and then give you a chance to practice your new identification skills during our program.

Movie Matinee: Owl’s Odyssey on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 4:00 – 5:30 pm

A female barn-owl’s home is demolished and she seeks a new place to live. Flying through forests and grasslands, she meets common owl species in Central Europe, some she can co-exist with, others she must shun. This documentary is a beautiful display of what owls mean to humans; how they fly and hunt; why they’ve been associated with death. The owl finally finds a new home, as the guest of a barn owl family, in time to see the new clutch of young following their mother on their first majestic flight.

Watch the trailer here.

Piebald Chickadee

Alas, the morning spent on my front porch in hopes of the prothonotary warbler returning was in vain. He had found the accommodations at Chez Ardaiolo more to his liking (refer to Prothonotary Warbler Sighting on Loblolly Lane ). However, upon moving to the back porch, I noticed an unusual looking bird drinking water from the hummingbird feeder. No, that wasn’t a white Carolina  Chickadee, just the sun playing tricks on my eyes.  Ooops, there he is again, and he is much whiter than than his companion chickadee.  Boy, is he pretty, but is he a baby, not yet with his adult feathers? Is he a molting bird? 

Leucistic Carolina Chickadee photographed by Jackie Brooks

It turns out that he is a mutant bird, but not one from Area 51.  He is a leucistic Carolina Chickadee.  Leucism is a genetic mutation that causes pigment to fail to be deposited on a bird’s feathers. Plumage that does have color is often a paler, diluted version of its normal color. Since he has some normal coloring, along with his white patches, he is a pied or piebald bird.  Birds that are completely white are leucistic birds. These birds have normal colored eyes, legs and skin. Only their feathers are affected by the lack of color. Albino birds, on the other hand, have no pigment in their skin, legs, feet, and bill. Their eyes are pink or red.

This is not the first leucistic bird to find their way to Seabrook Island. We published an article back in January 2020 with photographs of a leucistic Brown-headed Cowbird.

So, what brings two highly unusual birds, the Prothonotary Warbler pair and the Piebald Carolina Chickadee, to the same area within 24 hours?  Is it fate?  Is it luck? 

Article and Photographs by Jackie Brooks

Prothonotary Warbler Sighting on Loblolly Lane

On Tuesday evening July 28, 2020, around 7:00 pm while having dinner on my porch with my family, I noticed a small bright yellow bird in my birdbath. I am pretty familiar with the yellow birds that show up at my feeders and birdbath and from the moment I saw it, I knew this bird was something different. The bird almost glowed in the dusky evening. I was able to grab my binoculars and get a good enough look so that I could text my birding group with a description of the bird to get their opinions of what it could be. The bird was warbler sized, solid bright yellow, with blue/gray wings, round black eyes, and a fairly long (for a warbler) gray beak. There were no other markings on the bird except possibly some white on the underside at the back of the bird near its tail.  

Male Prothonotary Warbler – photo by Jackie Brooks

With my bird guides and bird identification apps out, I was able to eliminate all my group’s suggestions of the yellow birds that would be typical for this area. As someone who is fairly new to birding, I was hesitant to insist that I had seen a Prothonotary Warbler in my birdbath, but I couldn’t find anything else that fit the description. 

On the third evening that it visited I was able to get a picture and a video of the bird with my iPhone camera. They were far from great pictures, but I was able to get validation from two experienced birders. Matt Johnson, the center director for the Francis Beidler Audubon Center, and Aija Konrad, who is one of our resident birding experts on the island, agreed that this was probably a Prothonotary Warbler. However, it would be nice to have undeniable proof that I had a Prothonotary Warbler visiting my birdbath. 

Finally, on the fourth evening I enlisted my fellow birder, neighbor, friend, and most importantly, photographer, to sit and wait with me. Sure enough, right at 7:00pm, the male showed up for his evening bath. Jackie Brookes was able to get some wonderful photos. We were so excited for the successful sighting of the male Prothonotary Warbler that we almost missed the female Prothonotary Warbler that came in for her time in the bath. 

The Prothonotary Warbler is normally seen in the spring and summer when they migrate to swamp forest areas in the southeast to nest in tree cavities. In our area, you would have to take a trip to the Beidler Forest Audubon Center near Summerville, the Audubon Swamp that is part of Magnolia Plantation, or Caw Caw Interpretive Center to see Prothonotary Warblers. They have rarely been spotted on Seabrook Island. In one of the descriptions I read, it says that they are sometimes seen around ponds that have standing water. My house does back up to one of the ponds/lagoons in the “Lakes” district on Seabrook Island. Matt Johnson said that the warblers may have moved out to Seabrook from their breeding grounds further inland to fatten up for their migration south. He also mentioned that having fresh water available for the birds is so important and attracts birds to your yard that otherwise might not visit. 

Put out a birdbath and keep your eyes peeled for a bright yellow bird. It would be outstanding to add this species to our list of regular visitors. 

Article written by Joleen Ardaiolo
Photos contributed by Jackie Brooks

REMINDER: Summer Virtual Movie Matinee Series

Movie Matinee | The Spinal Column

If you would like to join us for any of Seabrook Island Birder’s “Virtual Movie Matinees” you must REGISTER to attend. Then we will email you the Zoom link the day prior to the event. The first move, Beak & Brain – Genius Birds from Down Under is scheduled for Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 4:00 – 5:30 pm

Continue reading “REMINDER: Summer Virtual Movie Matinee Series”

Virtual Movie Matinee: Dancing with the Birds

Join us to Watch: Dancing with the Birds
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
4:00 – 5:30 pm

Dancing with the Birds is a 2019 documentary film directed by Huw Cordey and narrated by Stephen Fry. The premise revolves around exotic birds doing mating rituals, either by dancing or creating nests with the right decorations.

As we are still limited in conducting in-person group activities, we are offering our third “Virtual Movie Matinee” using Zoom! And the best part is you don’t even have to be on Seabrook Island to join and it is FREE!

Once you register, we will send you a link the day prior to the event to allow you to access our Zoom live video. We will open each event with introductions and a little social time, watch the hour long show together, and finish with a short discussion to get your feedback and answer questions.

Sign up, then plan to get comfy in your favorite chair with snacks and beverages of your choice to enjoy our gathering!

This event is free, but if you are not a SIB member, we invite you to join for only $10/person/year. Visit our website for more information about how to join.

Watch the Replay – Nesting Birds of Seabrook Island

On June 3, 2020, Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) held its first Virtual Evening Program, Nesting Birds, with Matt Johnson & Nolan Schillerstrom from Audubon South Carolina.  Nearly 100 people registered from 16 states, with about 55 joining the program live.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the topic and the great work done by Matt and Nolan to present information specific to Seabrook Island! The event was interactive, with participants posting questions live on the Zoom “chat” feature.

For those who missed the event, or want to watch it again, click on the link below:

To learn more about Audubon South Carolina, we encourage you to visit their FacebookTwitter, and Instagram as well as their website .

Watch for more “virtual” events coming soon! And if you want to give us feedback on our programs, take our brief survey using this link to let us know:
– When you think you will resume participation if available
– Ideas for activities
– Feedback on Zoom programs