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.

REPORTING A BAND BIRD

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 www.reportband.gov or you may call 1 (800) 327-BAND (2263).

Banded shorebirds on Seabrook Island beaches may be reported directly to SCDNR at waddingbirds@dnr.sc.gov.

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

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:  http://kiawahislandbanding.blogspot.com

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)

Bird Sightings on Seabrook Island – Week Ending March 27, 2016

SIB will publish this regular blog post to report interesting or unusual bird sightings on Seabrook Island.

Name:  Nancy Brown & Flo Foley
Date & Time of Sighting:  3/26/16 8:30am
Name of Bird Species:  Wood Stork
Number of Birds Sighted: 1
Location of Sighting:  Observed a single Wood Stork flying over the Lake House


Additional Sightings (see pictures below)

SIB held its second “Learning Together” bird walk Thursday March 24th on North Beach led by three SIB committee members (Marcia Hider, Flo Foley & Nancy Brown).  Twenty SIB members, many new to birding, participated on the beautiful morning and birded from the parking lot, along the boardwalk and on the beach.
As we left the parking lot, we could hear the high-pitched, trilled bzeee of a flock of Cedar Waxwings perched in a tree.  After a loud construction sound, the flock lifted into the air and we saw two other large flocks in the distance take off with a total of more than 50 birds!
On the beach, we saw several large clusters of shorebirds.  Using the scopes, we observed a Greater Yellowlegs dancing in a small pond of water as it fed on small minnows.  And further down the beach we watched three American Oystercatchers fly in and hang at the shoreline. The team thought they had a large flock of Red Knots on the beach, but after further investigation determined it was a mixed flock of Dunlins, Sanderlings and Plovers.  Thanks to Judy Morr for helping to identify various birds.
In total the group saw more than 20 species, including:
Brown Pelican
Osprey
American Oystercatcher
Semipalmated Plover
Greater Yellowlegs
Sanderling
Dunlin
Western Sandpiper
Black Scoters
Laughing Gull
Downy Woodpecker
American Crow
Fish Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Savannah Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Please enjoy these photos taken by Dean Morr!
(click on a photo to view as a slide show)

Bird Sightings on Seabrook Island – Week Ending March 23, 2016

SIB will publish this regular blog post to report interesting or unusual bird sightings on Seabrook Island.  In the past week, we received these pictures and comments from one of our members and we’d like to share it with you.  As you will notice, spring has arrived!
 
Name: Glen Cox
Date & Time of Sighting: 3/23/2016
Name of Bird Species: Osprey
Number of Birds Sighted: 2
Location of Sighting: “I captured these photos in my backyard earlier this evening. My home is on the 6th fairway of Crooked Oak.  The nest is located in a large pine tree on the right side at about the 150′ marker.”
Please enjoy these photos taken by Glen Cox!
(click on a photo to view as a slide show)

Bird Sightings on Seabrook Island – Week Ending March 13, 2016

This blog post is the first in a new series SIB will publish on a regular basis to report unusual bird sightings on Seabrook Island.  In the past week, we received two unusual sightings from a SIB member and a report of a number of shorebirds seen by five SIB members on North Beach.
 

Name: Melanie Jerome
Date & Time of Sighting: 3/12/2016 -8am
Name of Bird Species: Clapper Rail
Number of Birds Sighted: 1
Location of Sighting: Horseshoe creek on the way to new cut, while kayaking

Name: Melanie Jerome
Date & Time of Sighting: 3/6&7/2016
Name of Bird Species: Mockingbird with silver USGS tag (Watch for more info on finding and reporting birds with tags in an upcoming article)
Number of Birds Sighted: 1
Location of Sighting: Near Melanie’s villa at Creek Watch

Additional Sightings (see pictures below)

Five members of SIB (Marcia Hider, Aija & Ed Konrad, Flo Foley & Nancy Brown) took an informal walk on North Beach on Sunday March 13 between 9am – noon.  In total they saw 28 species.  The following were of particular interest:

2 American Oyster Catchers
2 Wilson’s Plovers
40 Semipalmated Plovers
8 Black-bellied Plovers
9 Piping Plovers
900 Red Knots
75 Sanderlings
150 Dunlins
2 Greater Yellowlegs
2 Least Sandpipers
2 Western Sandpipers
2 Short-billed Dowitchers
20 Black Skimmers
80 Tree Swallows

Please enjoy these photos taken by Ed Konrad!
(click on a photo to view as a slide show)

Bird Sighting – More Northern Gannets

Helen Reinhart reports she saw seven (7) Northern Gannets on Tuesday 2/9/16 at 11:45 a.m. off Pelican Beach near Boardwalk #9.  Helen said they were “in flight up and down the beach, feeding and close enough to easily identify.”

As we reported on the sighting last week, the Northern Gannet is a large bird (Length: 37″ and Wingspan: 72″) who spends most of its life at sea.  Similar to the Brown Pelican, to feed it plunge dives into the ocean from as high as 130 feet.

Northern Gannet - © Ganesh Jayaraman
Northern Gannet – © Ganesh Jayaraman

Bird Sighting – Northern Gannet

Thanks to Paul Giardino for reporting a bird sighting!  He and three others observed a Northern Gannet about 150 yards from shore as it floated by on the out going tide.  The location was at Boardwalk #8 (“Dolphin Point”) on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 5:15 pm.

The Northern Gannet is a large bird (Length: 37″ and Wingspan: 72″) who spends most of its life at sea.  Similar to the Brown Pelican, to feed it plunge dives into the ocean from as high as 130 feet.

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 11.59.48 AM

 

Bird Sighting – Red Knots are Back!

Thank you to Patricia Schaefer for submitting her sighting of 20 Red Knots on January 31, 2016 at approximately 3:00 pm on North Beach between the old inlet and the new inlet on the ocean side.  This particular bird had a green leg tag with number 25P on his left leg. Patricia reported it to the Bird Banding Lab with the USGS.

Let us know if you see any interesting bird sightings on Seabrook Island by using this form.