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.

Ethical Birding and Bird Photography

With the increasing popularity of birding and bird photography, combined with warm weather and spending more time outdoors, it’s a good time to remind everyone of the dos and don’ts of birding and bird photography. Think of it as birding etiquette. Audubon has several articles to this effect, here are a few pointers taken directly from their website.

The first essential element in bird photography and videography is a sincere respect for the birds and their environment. In any conflict of interest, the well-being of the birds and their habitats must come before the ambitions of the birder, photographer or videographer.

Avoid causing unnecessary disturbance or stress to birds.

  • Use a telephoto lens and maintain enough distance to allow your subject to behave naturally. Blinds offer a great way to watch and photograph or record video footage of birds without disturbing them.
  • Never advance on birds with the intention of making them fly, whether they are lone birds or flocks of birds. This disrupts natural processes such as resting, foraging, or hunting, and causes them to expend energy unnecessarily.
  • If your approach causes a bird to flush (fly or run away) or change its behavior, you’re too close. Some birds may “freeze” in place rather than fly away, or may hunch into a protective, aggressive, or pre-flight stance. Watch for changes in posture indicating that a bird is stressed, and if you see these, back away. If focused on you, birds may miss a predator.
  • Do not use drones to photograph or record video footage of birds, especially at their nests. Although drones can be useful for researchers and biologists documenting bird populations (such as at island nesting colonies), drones in general can be very disruptive to birds. They are also illegal in national parks and some state parks.
  • Concern for birds’ habitat is also essential. Be aware and respectful of your surroundings. Avoid trampling sensitive vegetation or disturbing other wildlife.

Nesting birds are particularly vulnerable and need extra consideration.

Photo by Jeff Sanders
  • Keep a respectful distance from the nest. If you’re using a macro lens or including the nest as a focal point in an image/footage with a wide-angle lens, even if you’re operating the camera remotely, you’re probably too close. Telephoto lenses of at least 500mm are recommended.

Beach-nesting birds (shorebirds and seabirds) require special care.

  • Respect and give space to the boundaries of roped-off nesting areas.        
  • Maintain a minimum distance of 25 yards from beach-nesting birds, especially solitary flightless chicks but also adults brooding, feeding, or incubating chicks.  Parents frightened from their nests leave eggs and chicks vulnerable to swift predation from gulls and other animals, as well as deadly temperature extremes. 
  • Situate yourself so that you are not in a direct line from the nest area to the water, which can inhibit the family and/or chicks from heading down to the waterline to feed. It is vital that chicks feed as much as possible to gain enough weight to survive their upcoming migration. If the young are feeding at the shoreline, take special care to keep your distance so they don’t hurry back to the nest area/dunes.

Show respect for private and public property, and consideration for other people.

Backyard Birding Photographers – Judy Morr
  • Enter private land only with permission. On public property such as parks and refuges, be aware of local regulations, hours, and closed areas.
  • Be respectful of birds located on private land but viewable from a public vantage point, and also respect the privacy of these private landowners. If they are uncomfortable with your presence, leave.
  • In group situations, be considerate of other photographers, videographers, and birders watching the same bird. Remember that your desire to photograph or record video footage of the bird doesn’t outweigh the rights of others to observe it. Large groups of people are potentially more disturbing to birds, so it may be necessary to keep a greater distance.

Showing a sincere respect for birds and the places they need to thrive must come before getting that perfect photo or footage. Birding, and bird photography, should be an enjoyable and stress-free pass-time for us and the birds. For more information about this and similar topics, go to:


Submitted by Gina Sanders

Join SIB: Beyond our Backyard at Kiawah River

Sunday, March 12, 2023 8:00am-11:00am
Learning Together at Kiawah River 
Location:  Meet at the “bridge” entering the property
Max: 12 people
Cost None for members; $10 donation for guests

Welcome in the time change with another chance to check out birds that can be found on this varied habitat  property.  We expect to see a large variety of birds including Double-crested Cormorants, Egrets, Herons, Osprey and other birds of prey. If we are lucky, we will see an eagle and osprey duel over a fish. As we enter the property, we hope to catch a glimpse of the resident American Coots and Loggerhead Shrikes.  We should also see and hear some of the smaller birds like Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Cardinals.  We will drive to various locations on the property and then walk for better birding observations.  Of course, this also gives us a chance to see this neighboring development.  Low tide is at 6:05am so our chance for shorebirds along the Kiawah River are limited….but we can hope.

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

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.  You can also use the link above to renew your membership for 2023.

Please register no later than Friday, March 10, 2023.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on the day prior to the event.

Join SIB: Learning Together on North Beach

Saturday, March 11, 2023, 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Birding at North Beach
Location:  Meet at Boardwalk # 1 Parking lot
Max:  none    
Cost: Free for members; $10 donation for guests

Join SIB to bird at Seabrook Island’s North Beach. This three-mile round trip walk travels from Board Walk #1 to the tip of North Beach along Captain Sams Inlet as high tide approaches.  Birders from beginners to advanced birders will enjoy the variety of birds found on North Beach. At this time, many different species of shorebirds rest and feed near the point or along the beach ridge near the beach’s pond. Along the way, we will explore the many different species that can be found in this unique area.

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars/cameras, hats and sunscreen. Bring a spotting scope if you have one. There should be spotting scopes available for viewing. Bring plenty to drink and a snack if desired. There are no facilities.  We ask that all participants wear a mask when unable to social distance if they are not vaccinated.

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 March 9th.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on March 10th, the day prior to the trip. 

SIB “Bird of the Week” – Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl in flight. Photo by Peter Burian, Wikimedia Commons.

Great Horned OwlBubo virginianus
Length: 18.1-24.8″.; Wingspan: 39.8-57.1″ ; Weight: 32.1-88.2 oz.

“Who’s awake? Me too! Who’s awake? Me too!”

My “Birding by Ear” audio training suggests these phonetic phrases to help identify the Great Horned Owl. One night, while sitting on our back deck at Seabrook, my husband and I heard this very sound coming from an area nearby. We jumped up and ran out to the yard, looking all around. There in the moonlight, on top of the house, sat a Great Horned Owl. What an incredible sight! We stood there for a full minute and watched him through our binoculars while he watched the surrounding dunes and kept an eye on us at the same time. Suddenly he flew down to the dunes, we heard a brief yelp, then he flew up into the trees, carrying his prey. It was an incredible moment to witness.

Found throughout North America and much of South America, this large owl is an aggressive and powerful hunter. Prey includes hawks, ospreys, falcons and other owls. They also eat rabbits, snakes, rodents, frogs, and even skunks. Its large eyes have many rods for night vision and pupils that open widely in the dark. While its eyes don’t move, this owl can swivel its head more than 180 degrees and look in any direction. Great Horned owls have acute hearing, assisted by facial disc feathers that direct sound waves to its ears. Short, wide wings allow maneuverability through the forest and exceptionally soft feathers allow for silent flight. They clench their prey with talons so strong it takes 28 pounds of force to open them, a grip so deadly it can easily sever the spine of large prey.

It’s one of the most common owls in North America, found in deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, cities and almost any other semi-open habitat between the Arctic and the tropics. A very broad range! They’re nocturnal and can be seen at dusk sitting on fence posts or tree limbs at the edge of open areas, always watching. If you hear an agitated group of American Crows they may be mobbing a Great Horned owl. They gather from near and far to harass an owl for hours. And for good reason – it’s their most dangerous predator.

Great Horned Owl, Seabrook Island – David Woodman

Female Great Horned Owls are larger than males. In courtship, males perform flight displays and also feed the female. They typically use old nests of other large birds such as hawks, eagles, crows, herons and ospreys. Nests are usually 20-60′ above ground and they add little or no nest material to the existing nest. In fact, currently on Seabrook Island, a Great Horned Owl is actively nesting in what is believed to be a former Osprey nest.

Great Horned Owl on nest – Dean Morr

Two to three eggs is normal, with the female doing the majority of the incubation over a 28-35 day period. Both parents take part in providing food for the young owls, then when they’re 5 weeks old they can leave the nest and climb on nearby branches, can fly at 9-10 weeks, and are tended and fed by parents for several months,

Since owls are easier to hear than to see, take some time to learn the different hoots and calls. They’re often heard on Seabrook, so keep your ears tuned and binoculars handy.

To learn more about Great Horned Owls, go to:

Submitted by Gina Sanders

Learn about “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.

Join SIB: Learning Together at Palmetto Lake

Wednesday, March 08, 2023-4:00pm -6:00pm
Location:  Meet at Equestrian end of Lake House  parking lot
Max:  15
Cost: Free for 2023 members, $10 for guests

Description:   Join the Seabrook Island Birders for a leisurely walk around Palmetto Lake. We plan to walk part way along the path towards the Equestrian Center then hopefully see the “white birds” come in to roost for the evening.  The path around Palmetto Lake is wheelchair navigable and for those walking it will be less than a half a mile.  As we walk along Seabrook Island Road, we hope to see some of our resident winter warblers (an maybe some early arriving spring warblers) such as Yellow-rumped Warblers, Palm Warblers and my favorite Black and White Warbler.  We also expect to see a large variety of birds including Northern Cardinals, Carolina Wrens, Herons and birds of prey.   If the “white birds” get the invitation, we hope to see Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets and White Ibis roosting for the evening.  Hooded Mergansers, Pie-billed Grebes and Buffleheads may be seen swimming in the lake.

Dress in layers and bring your binoculars, hats, and a beverage of choice.  You may also wish to bring a chair to sit and enjoy your beverage while watching the birds coming in for their evening roost. Sunset is 6:22 so timing will hopefully be good before the coming time change.

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 Monday March 6.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on the Tuesday, the day prior to the activity.  

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