Ask SIB: What to do if You Find a Bird with a Band?

The Sidebottom children, from left to right Reves (5), Ella (5) and Wesley (4), holding the deceased first year Painted Bunting.

On September 3, 2017, SIB received an email from Richard Sidebottom. 

“We live in Charleston and are out here often. My in-laws (the kids grandparents) are Jerry and Jenny Reves, who have had a house here since 1995. Jerry is the former Dean at MUSC and writes the wellness column in The Seabrooker. 

We arrived out here from town yesterday and the kids saw a dead yellow and black/gray bird on the deck and also noticed the identification band around its leg. My kids enjoy looking at the nature guides (including Audubon / Peterson’s Field Guide) that their grandparents have at the house, so we tried to identify it. We think it may be a female Painted Bunting. It occurred to me this morning as we were trying to figure out how to bury it that we should ask whether someone should know about the band. The band says:  OPEN 2721 ABRE, 24834


Richard Sidebottom

The two photos below were attached:

Nancy Brown, the SIB Communications Chair, corresponded with Richard and provided the USGS link to report banded birds so he could officially report the condition of the bird.

Nancy also sent a note to Aaron Given, Wildlife Biologist on Kiawah Island, who manages a bird banding station on Kiawah.  As she suspected, Aaron responded:  “We banded it on 8/26/17 at the Captain Sam’s site on the west end of Kiawah.  This is a hatch-year bird because of the buffy edging on the wing coverts therefore the sex is unknown. The most likely cause of death was by window strike.” 

When you report a banded bird to the USGS, you will receive a certificate of appreciation, similar to the one below sent to the Sidebottom family.

USGS Certificate of Appreciation

If you missed any of SIB’s other blogs about banded birds, you can find them by searching on the “Banding” category, or click on this link.

Read the article below to learn more about finding birds with leg bands:

Continue reading “Ask SIB: What to do if You Find a Bird with a Band?”

The Travels of Red Knot “9CV”

What we now know about Red knot 9CV:

Felicia Sanders from South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SC-DNR) recently received updated information about Red Knot 9CV. This bird was recaptured Seabrook Island on April 29, 2017.

9CV Day Banded on Cape Romaine

Felicia is the Shorebird Lead for SC-DNR. On June 28, 2017, she presented to Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) a program of photos and narratives of the fabulous shorebirds that spend time on our beaches. That  program included a discussion on Red Knots. Red Knots, a Federally Threatened shorebird species, use our beach during spring migration as a stopping point on their 18,000 mile roundtrip journey from their winter home on the southern tip of South American to the Arctic Circle where they nest. She mentioned, this spring, the largest known flock with 4,000 Red Knots enjoyed our beautiful and bountiful beaches to rest and feed before their 3-day direct 1,400 mile flight to James Bay in Canada. This is pretty amazing considering there are only an estimated 25,000 Red Knots remaining on the planet! Felicia emphasized the significance of our Seabrook flock, and the partnership with Seabrook Island Birders as we assisted SC DNR in April in tagging Red Knots and placing transmitters for important tracking on their journey.  Red Knot 9CV was one of those birds on Seabrook Island.

9CV Travel Map 2015-2016

Here is a map of that Red Knot’s migration. SC-DNR captured it in Cape Romain NWR at Marsh Island on Oct 16, 2015. A picture, as seen below, was taken at that time and a geolocator was placed on the bird as well as the banding tag.  9CV spent the winter at Cape Romain NWR and then left SC on May 24, 2016 and flew directly to James Bay shore (at the N 50 on the map), arriving the next day! It then continued on to above the Arctic Circle where it stayed for 44 days but did not seem to nest.  On July 16, 2016 it returned to James Bay and was spotted by Canadian researchers! Then, on July 30, it arrived in New Jersey and stayed 55 days. On September 24, 2016 it returned to South Carolina until it was captured on Seabrook, SC on April 29, 2017.  At that time, the geolocator was removed so the data could be analyzed and the bird was released. Ed Konrad was able to take pictures of the bird as it was being released. Felicia wanted to thank Ron Porter who interpreted the geolocator data.  She also wanted to thank the many others, who worked on this project!!

The above photos were taken by Ed Konrad as the bird was being released on April 29th, 2017.

Although this bird spent the winters of 2015 and 2016 in South Carolina, similar information from other Red Knots confirms some birds travel from the tip of South America to the Arctic Circle each year. Their time on Seabrook Island is a time to rest and renourish. As Felicia reminded us in June, human disturbance is one of the top threats to nesting, migrating, and wintering shorebirds. Please remember:

Let Birds Feed & Rest: Resting and feeding are key to the survival of migratory and wintering birds on our beaches. Give them plenty of space. If birds run or fly, you are too close!

Respect Posted Areas: Keep out of posted areas. Disturbances to nesting birds can cause nests or entire colonies to fail. Never walk into the dune areas – Wilson’s Plovers are nesting on Seabrook Island in these areas!

Be a Bird Friendly Dog Owner: Keep your dog on a leash when you see flocks of birds on the beach. Never allow your dog(s) or children to chase birds as it is extremely stressful to birds. And please abide by the “no dogs allowed” past the sign on North Beach. The Piping Plover winter migration is ongoing now.

Please take time to learn and help educate your family, friends, and visitors to Seabrook Island on the importance of protecting and sharing our beach with our wildlife!

Article submitted by:  Judy Morr
Photos submitted by: Ed Konrad

Have you seen this Great Egret?

While photographing wading birds in our beautiful marshes, I noticed a Great Egret with a transmitter about the size of a small TV remote on its back and a metal band with numbers on its left leg. Have you seen this bird?

Great Egret with GPS transmitter on Seabrook Island – Glen Cox

I posted a couple pictures of the bird on NextDoor and received a response suggesting this was the Great Egret named Edward who I learned is tagged and being monitored by the New Jersey Audubon Society.

This began a search for the origin of this bird. I contacted the NJ Audubon folks and learned their bird “Edward” was hanging out at Staten Island and had been in the area for a couple of weeks during the time period I spotted the egret. They did say he winters in the Hilton Head area so maybe we’ll see him this fall.

My research took me to organizations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Florida. All of the personnel I spoke with were more than generous with their time in helping to track down who might have tagged and banded this egret. 

I was referred to Dr Kenneth Myer, Executive Director of Avian Research and Conservation Institute, Gainesville Florida. I provided him with the pictures and the partial band number. Dr Meyer responded and stated the bird is possibly one of the 80 Great Egrets banded and tagged in Louisiana and South Carolina from 2 September 2010 to 23 February 2011.  The birds were banded and tagged to gauge effects of the Deep Water Horizon Oil Rig spill that occurred on 20 April 2010.  The partial band number I provided matched the lot numbers of bands used for this group of egrets.  Dr Myer stated the GPS-enabled satellite transmitter appears to be the same model used for the study. In order to gain more information about this individual egret, Dr Meyer will need the complete band number.  

I last saw the egret just this week in the marsh nearest Deer Pointe and Marsh Gate Drive. The challenge now is to get the remaining numbers of the band so we can learn more information from this bird. 

If anyone else has photographs of this bird, please contact me or let SIB know so we can close the loop!

And if you are interested to learn more about migrating birds and how scientists are tracking them to learn more, we hope you will attend our SIB Evening Program with Dr. Sidney Gauthreaux this Wednesday night at 7:00 pm at the Lake House on Seabrook Island.  Click here to learn more and register!

Article & Photo Submitted by:  Glen Cox

A great week of North Beach birding!

Article by Aija Konrad
Photos by Ed Konrad

Beach birding is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates…”you never know what you’re gonna get!” It can be a feast, with too many birds to count, or famine, with a long walk to the end of the spit and few results. This week has been a gluttonous feast!

1) North Beach at high tide – Terns, Skimmers, Gulls – Ed Konrad
2) Tri-colored Heron with good catch, North Beach low tide – Ed Konrad

Our favorite time to bird North Beach is at high tide and as the tide falls. (Photo 1) The birds are usually gathered in a high tide roost, rather than far out on sand bars. We observed large numbers of terns, skimmers, pelicans, and gulls on the North Beach shore at the tip of the turn toward Captain Sam’s. Also at low tide on North Beach, Tri-colored Heron often fish at the tip of the inlet as the tide pools form. (Photo 2) Although we did not see the Reddish Egret this time, you can often it see here.

The protected area behind the yellow signs on North Beach had large numbers of Semipalmated Plovers, Sanderlings and peeps roosting in the dry sand. There are always a few Piping Plovers mixed in. (Photo 3) We also saw a great assortment of resting birds on the back side along the old inlet, towards Captain Sam’s mouth. (Photo 4) All of these areas are among our favorite spots to bird North Beach.

5) Piping Plovers on North Beach, 3TV banded this summer on Fire Island National Seashore NY – Ed Konrad

Since the Piping Plovers have begun to return for their winter migration, we’ve spotted them all along the shore anywhere from to the right of the Property Owner boardwalk #1 to the far end of North Beach. (Photo 5) Ed and I have been searching for banded birds and submitting photos to researchers for the Great Lakes and Atlantic Coast breeding regions. So far this season we have found and submitted 8 banded birds. We’ve learned these have migrated from Fire Island NY, Rhode Island and NJ beaches, from islands north of Nova Scotia, and from the Great Lakes. The researchers appreciate updates on where their birds have been spotted, and it’s exciting for us to know where our Pipers are coming from and their journeys!

6 Piping Plover hatched and banded on North Manitou Island summer 2017 – Ed Konrad

The cherry on top of the cake was learning from Alice Van Zoeren, our researcher friend with the Great Lakes Piping Plover Conservation Team, that a Piping Plover we sighted had hatched on North Manitou Island, Sleeping Bear Dunes MI this summer. Alice banded and watched over this chick, and was excited her chick had made its way to Seabrook! (Photo 6)

Black Skimmers are gathering in large numbers, over 200 each day. (Photo 7) Caspian Tern numbers are growing with 8 spotted. We had eight Marbled Godwits, and three Oystercatchers, including our resident U5. (Photo 8) We hit a bonanza with Black-bellied Plovers, over 70 on the edge of the old inlet, with some still showing black bellies! (Photo 9) An exciting addition on Tuesday was ten Red Knots…the first of the fall season for us. Two were still showing the remains of their rusty bellies. (Photo 10) Short-billed Dowitchers also made an appearance, as did Western and Least Sandpipers.

Warblers are also starting to come into the area, with Aaron Given having some great banding this week, including his first Canada Warbler for Kiawah banding station! His blog is outstanding ( and so much fun to follow, with some great pictures. We saw a few warbler species at Mingo Point on Monday…several Prairie’s, a Black-and white, and several American Redstarts. So far on Seabrook we have had Prairie, American Redstarts, Yellow-throated and a Northern Waterthrush. Palmetto Lake is a good place to look for them, as is the parking spot area at Six Ladies trail and the trail itself and the Bobcat dunes boardwalk. It can be challenging in the fall because there are no songs, bird colors are drab, but it’s a fun challenge. Mosquitos have been ferocious!

The night roost at Old Wharf Road at Jenkins Point has been crazy, with hundreds of egrets, herons, and ibis. The noise is quite a cacophony!!! I have not tried counting them yet…there are simply too many. Sadly, a dead deer is in the lagoon, adding a bad aroma!

So that’s the story for a week of fun birding. Keep your eyes and ears open…fall migration has begun!

(Editor’s note:  This article was written prior to Hurricane Irma, so as we all know, conditions and the environment are always changing.)

Piping Plover Migration: From the Great Lakes to Seabrook Island

Piping Plover adult male, Sleeping Bear Dunes MI, July 17, 2017 – Ed Konrad

A few weeks ago, on July 17, Ed and I visited Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan, where the Great Lakes race of the Piping Plovers nest. We were so excited to see where these special little birds that visit us at Seabrook come from. We also had the pleasure of meeting up with Alice Van Zoeren, who has been monitoring the plovers for the University of Minnesota since 2004. We have been corresponding with Alice through the years, sending her pictures of banded Piping Plovers that we see in winter migration at Seabrook, and she reports back to us where the PIPL have been banded. This information is so important to researchers, to know where the birds are moving.

The Piping Plovers have 3 different “races”…the Great Lakes, the Northern Great Plains and the Atlantic Coast. The Great Lakes group breeds on the beaches of the Great Lakes region from May to early Aug. They lay 4 eggs in a small depression in the dry sand and these eggs are incubated for about a month. The Great Lakes population was once at nearly 800 pairs and has now declined to about 70 pairs that breed in the area. In 1986, the Piping Plovers were placed on the Federal Endangered Species list.

We met up with Alice on the plover breeding grounds on the edge of Lake Michigan. It was a beautiful day and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the US! Alice had counted over 16 plovers that day, including one very tiny young bird that we were lucky enough to see. He was probably 2 weeks old and had so much spunk! Alice said they are independent very quickly. They can run and feed themselves within hours of hatching. By 28 days they have a complete set of flight feathers and are accomplished fliers.

Most of the female adults had already begun migration when we were there, and Alice estimated that they could be in Seabrook well before us. The males will be the next and after that, the chicks. Ed photographed many of the banded birds so we would have a record of them so we can be on the lookout for them when they pass through Seabrook!

We arrived back at Seabrook this past Thursday night, and spotted 3 Piping Plovers on Friday AM, and 4 on Saturday, on our beach!!! Two were banded, one was a Great Lakes bird. We are waiting to hear from Alice in Michigan about it’s origin. 

What a thrill it was to see where it all begins!!! Keep an eye out for Piping Plovers at our beaches, beginning now!

Article by Aija Konrad
Photos by Ed Konrad

Sightings of Banded Birds on Seabrook Island

(As reported in the April edition of The Seabrooker ; with additional follow-up notes at the end of the story)

Spring is here and the birds are returning in force to our feeders, woodlands and beaches.

Recently Patricia Schaffer noticed a green flag on the leg of a Red Knott she had photographed at North Beach on January 31. By enlarging the photograph, she was able to read the tag number (25-P). Soon after reporting her sighting Patricia received a Certificate of Appreciation and letter from the North America Bird Banding Program informing her of when and where her bird was tagged, how old it was and other related information.

Melanie Jerome, of Creek Watch Villas reported that a Mocking bird with a silver leg tag was regularly visiting her yard during the first week of March.

Bob and Marcia Hider frequently see Painted Buntings with brightly colored leg bands at their bird feeder at Green Heron Drive.

Recently I accompanied Janet Thibault, a South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologist, on a survey of Piping Plovers at North Beach. We observed several Red Knots and one Wilson’s Plover with leg tags and one multi-banded Piping Plover.

An estimated 60 million birds representing hundreds of species have been banded in North America since 1904 and more than 4 million have been reported or recovered.

Information obtained from banded bird recoveries help researchers study the dispersal, migration, behavior and social structure, life-span and survival rate, reproductive success and population growth of many species of birds.

There are many types of bird bands, the most common are small silver or colored bands placed on various locations on a leg, but flags attached to a leg or wing are also utilized. Bands are typically engraved with an identification number and may have information as to how and where to report a sighting.

There are numerous federal, state, university and private foundations that band birds. All bird banding is regulated by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This Act makes it illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, or transport any migratory bird except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to Federal regulations.

Permits for banding birds are issued by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The Bird Banding Laboratory was established by USGS in 1936 and is located at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Patuxent, Maryland.


Sightings of a banded bird (or should you find a dead bird with a band) should be reported to the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory at or you may call 1 (800) 327-BAND (2263).

Banded shorebirds on Seabrook Island beaches may be reported directly to SCDNR at

You may also want to report your sighting to the Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) at .

Submitted by:  Charley Moore
Environmental Committee & SIB President

Follow-ups to the story:

Patricia Schaefer wrote to SIB:  “I spotted an oystercatcher with a leg band today (4/3) and I took pictures and reported it.  I got the record on the bird and this is the 3rd time I reported him. First on 12-28-13, then 1-17-15 and now today. In between the last signing he was spotted in Altamaha Sound Georgia on 9-21-15. He was first reported on in 2008.

On Tuesday, April 5, Nancy Brown & Flo Foley spent a few hours as part of their Master Naturalist course with Aaron Givens, Town of Kiawah Biologist, learning and assisting with the banding of Marsh Sparrows.   Along with their two instructors and nine other students, they flushed sparrows from the high shrubs in the marsh at Kiawah River bridge into nets.  In total they recorded information about eight birds, seven Seaside Sparrows and one Saltmarsh Sparrow.  Four birds had previously been tagged by Aaron and four received a band.  Learn more about bird banding at Kiawah:

Charley Moore reported his first sighting of the Painted Buntings at his feeders on Tuesday, April 5.  Be on the lookout for these beautiful birds!

A multi-banded Piping Plover, a threatened species protected by the Endangered Species Act, scurries along North Beach on March 9th feeding on small invertebrates in the sand. (Photo by Charley Moore)
A multi-banded Piping Plover, a threatened species protected by the Endangered Species Act, scurries along North Beach on March 9th feeding on small invertebrates in the sand. (Photo by Charley Moore)
2)Several Red Knots, including three with green leg flags feed along the waters edge at Seabrook Island’s North Beach. (Photo by Charley Moore)
2) Several Red Knots, including three with green leg flags feed along the waters edge at Seabrook Island’s North Beach. (Photo by Charley Moore)
A male Painted Bunting with four brightly colored leg bands. (Photo by Bob Hider)
A male Painted Bunting with four brightly colored leg bands. (Photo by Bob Hider)