Volunteer to Assist with the 120th Christmas Bird Count on Seabrook Island

(Article written for the December issue of The Seabrooker)

Each year starting on December 14th and continuing through January 5th, people across the country are participating in the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC).  Each count takes place on a specific day in an established 15-mile wide diameter circle, and is organized by a count compiler. Seabrook Island is part of the Sea Island SC count organized by Aaron Given, Wildlife Biologist at Kiawah Island. Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) will again support this year’s 120th annual CBC on the designated day of Friday January 3, 2020.  

Count volunteers follow specified routes through their designated 15-mile diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day. It’s not just a species tally—all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day. The data collected by observers over the past century allow Audubon researchers, conservation biologists, wildlife agencies and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how the continent’s bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years.

The first CBC was held on Christmas Day 1900 and was organized by ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, an early officer in the Audubon Society.  His proposal was to create a new holiday tradition of a “Christmas Bird Census” that would count birds during the holidays rather than the traditional Christmas “Side Hunt,” where teams of hunters competed to bring home the biggest pile of feathered or furred animals.

This past year, on January 4, 2019, 30 SIB members contributed to the 2018-2019 Sea Island Christmas Bird Count (CBC).  In total we had ten homes who submitted Backyard Birding forms and we had another ten groups who submitted the forms for all across Seabrook Island, including Camp St. Christopher, the beach, golf courses, horse pastures, ponds and marshes.

Our teams identified 99 species on our island.  This was less than the previous two years (112 & 116 respectively), most likely due to the extremely foggy and rainy weather. On that day, no one on Seabrook Island even saw a Wood Stork, Turkey or Black Vulture! However, it was impressive that of 20 locations, at least 14 of these reported a unique species!  Other interesting facts are we had 3 locations with a Baltimore Oriole and 6 locations with a Ruby-throated Hummingbird – all of which were seen in backyards, demonstrating the importance of our members participating from their home locations!

Please enjoy the photos taken by several SIB members during the day, including birds at backyard feeders, birds through the fog at North Beach and some candids of our birders doing what they love!  If you are interested to participate in the 120th Christmas Bird Count on Seabrook Island on Friday January 3, 2020, please visit our website (SeabrookIslandBirders.org/bird-walks/) or send an email (SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com). You can volunteer to stay at your home and report the birds that visit your feeder or even join experienced birders who will travel the island throughout the day.

Finally, if you are interested to learn more about the annual Christmas Bird Count, join SIB for our final 2019 movie matinee on Monday, December 16, at 4:30 pm.  We will show two hour-long documentary style films from PBS featuring Willem Lange. The first, “Counting on Birds.” How did a Christmas-time tradition of shooting birds change to one of counting them? Willem Lange travels to Keene & Errol, NH, Ecuador and Cuba to meet people dedicated to the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count. The second, “Bird Tales.”  Why are people so devoted to birds? Join Willem Lange as he meets migratory bird enthusiasts with fascinating BIRD TALES talking about their experiences with migratory birds from New England to New Jersey to Washington, DC to central Illinois to Nicaragua. You can sign up to attend these movies at our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/bird-walks/

Article Submitted by:  Nancy Brown
Photographs Submitted by:  Ed Konrad, Charles Moore, Patricia Schaefer

New Volunteer Orientation – July 14, 2019

Registration is Open
for New Volunteer Staff Orientation
at the Center for Birds of Prey / Avian Conservation Center
in Awendaw, SC.

Join us on Sunday, July 14, 1-4pm, for an introduction to our Volunteer Staff program. Learn about the variety of areas where we need support and meet some of our team. You’ll be able to ask questions, get to know a few of our current Volunteer Staff, and learn about the behind-the-scenes activities that make the Center function.

We invite those who are interested in supporting the Center through volunteer service on our campus to attend this orientation. Those interested in becoming a Transport Volunteer should wait until a Transport Training Workshop is scheduled.

Please note that we will have limited seating at this session. So we can provide the personal attention and time that each volunteer candidate deserves, we will only offer 50 seats at this session, so register early!

Thank you,
Staff of the Avian Conservation Center
Register Now!

Backyard Birding – Would you be willing to host one time in your backyard?

Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) offers its members a monthly opportunity to bird with other members in the comfort of someone’s backyard.  Almost every home on Seabrook has a good view of a variety of different birds. In 2018, we had 10 such activities, some in the morning, some in the evening.  Our members get a lot out of the relaxed activity and learn a lot from each other. The host(s) sometimes learns about birds they see every day but may not notice or know what they are.  Others enjoying sharing their little piece of paradise. No matter whether you are on the golf course, tennis area, lakes, lagoons, woods or ocean, there are birds in your backyard. If you are willing to host a Backyard Birding activity, please contact Melanie Jerome (melaniejerome@att.net) who coordinates these activities.

Just a few glimpses of prior Backyard Birding events:

Below are some frequently asked questions that may help you in your decision.  If you have more questions, contact Melanie and she can answer your questions without you having to make a commitment.

What do I need to do in preparation?

There is no preparation for this event, other than setting a date. You just have to let us into your backyard. You don’t even have to be there, but we hope you are. – only happened once

What if my house is not big enough?

We don’t care, we are not in your house. Many of the backyard birding is done at the villas also. We like to keep it at 12 for registration purposes, but average of 4-8 have been registering.

I haven’t seen many birds lately, what if there isn’t very many to view?

We don’t care if we only see one bird. We can find a lot to talk about and learn , even if we only see crows.  (nutt’in against the crows)

Do I have to provide food and beverage?

We don’t need food or beverage, we bring our own insulated mugs. BYOB

What if I don’t know very many bird names?

We don’t care. We love to teach others, and we sometimes are not sure either. What a great way to learn about the birds you see in your yard.

I have a pretty busy schedule….

We know and it’s only a 2 hour commitment. We will just sit on your back porch or mostly standing in the yard, looking up!!

Won’t I be embarrassed if there are no birds?

Birds can be uncooperative, when it comes time for viewing, but even the most common bird can surprise you. I sat with my binoculars one day, looking at a crow for about 20 min. It was amazing how he sat and groomed his partner. He kept pecking the branch and i watched as he landed there and took off when he was done. The shape of the crows wings are one of the most beautiful shaped wings i’ve see . The bird is so dark black that it looks almost blue in the sunlight. Appears to just caw for no reason, i could see. Interesting character.

Help! Volunteers are needed to host a Backyard Birding Activity for 2019. Please consider hosting a backyard birding activity in the new year. Just contact Melanie at melaniejerome@att.net, to set a date and get it on the calendar. She is currently working on March, April and May.

Volunteers Needed for the SI Bluebird Society

To all Seabrook Island Birders – The Seabrook Island Bluebird Society is looking for volunteers to assist with the inventory of Bluebird Nesting Boxes for the 2019 Season.  Please read the note below from coordinator Melanie Jerome and contact her if you are interested to support this initiative. There are still four team spots available.

Blue Birds-1 Moore
Eastern Bluebirds – Charley Moore

Dear Bluebirders,

A new season is about to begin for the Seabrook Island Bluebird Society. There are lots of Eastern Bluebirds flying around beginning to look for mates and nesting sites right now.

I had mentioned in prior emails, that I was working on getting baffles to deter our predators, and that is going along very well. I have attached a picture of #7 at the Lake house, I hope you can open it.

The Seabrook Island Birders agreed to help pay expenses for this project at the Lake House. And, the Seabrook Island Club has agreed to pay for all the baffles at the two golf courses. The Lake House is almost done. We are moving two of them to see if the Bluebirds might like it better and make a nest this year. The rest all will have baffles. The golf courses are being done by the Maintenance crew at the club. The last update from my contact, was that all the parts were ordered and they would have them on by March 1st. This will be close, because our bluebirds will be checking out their nest sites and moving in really soon in the month of March.

March 8th is the official start of bluebird box monitoring this year. It will end Aug 9.


Team Slots are :

  • March 8- April 26- need 4 teams for Ocean Winds, Crooked 1, Crooked 2, and Lakehouse
  • May 3-June 21 Need 4 teams for Ocean Winds, Crooked 1, Crooked 2 and Lakehouse
  • June 28-August 09 4 teams for Ocean Winds, Crooked 1, Crooked 2 and Lakehouse

I am sending this email to official start our volunteers monitor spots schedule. There are 12 team spots. Are you coming back this year to help out? Let me know via email as soon as possible.

It will be first come first pick. 2 spots are already filled by Rob and I and  the Aisenhauers. I will try my best to get everyone where they want and the time they want.

Just a refresher:

  • commitment is once a week to check your route rain or shine. Try to stay on the same day, give or take a day.
  • document everything you see at the boxes, for example egg colors are important and predation, etc.
  • fill free to take pictures of issues you see when you’re reporting.
  • contact me with any issues via text  614-570-3951
  • Once the schedule is set, I will have buckets ready for monitoring. My front porch pickup and drop off worked really good last year for me.

Thanks everyone!

Melanie Jerome
Seabrook Island Bluebird Society

Volunteer with us Thursday at the Hawk Watch at The Center for Birds of Prey



Date: Thursday October 11, 8:00 am– 4:00 pm
Activity: Hawk Watch at The Center for Birds of Prey
Location: Meet at SI Real Estate Office to Car Pool
Max: 12

Did you know Birders gather at key areas across the U.S. to count migrating birds of prey? The South Carolina Coastal Raptor Migration Survey is getting ready to start the fall Hawk Watch at The Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw, SC and SIB has arranged for our members to spend a few hours volunteering as observers.

The survey begins on September 1st and runs through November 30th *. The standard observation hours are 10am-1pm, but observation beyond these hours is welcomed. Each day a designated shift leader who is knowledgeable about raptor identification will lead the watch and is joined by at least one observer (someone who is interested in participating but does not need to be an experienced birder). Protocols for Hawk Watch will be to complete the standard HMANA data sheet.

SIB has arranged for volunteers to assist as observers during the Fall Migration Hawk Watch on Thursday , October 11, 2018 from 10am – 1pm. Car pools will leave the SI Real Estate Office at 8:00 am. Participants may stay after the observation period and are welcome to explore and participate in the afternoon programing 2:00 pm tour and 3:00 pm flight demo. For those interested, we plan to stop for lunch at the Seewee Restaurant in Awendaw following the event. Cars will be arranged based upon desired follow-on activities if possible. If Hawk Watch and then lunch, we should be back to Seabrook Island by 4pm.

Be sure to bring binoculars, sun screen, water, snacks, hat and bug spray.

* Note: If you are unable to attend with SIB on this date, but would still be interested to volunteer once or more during the three months, please contact Audrey Poplin (audrey.poplin@avianconservationcenter.org) to make arrangements for a date that works on your schedule.

Please register no later than Tuesday October 9, 2018. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior the event.

If you have additional questions about the program, please contact us by sending an email to: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com

If you are not yet a 2018 SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/ or we request a $5 donation to SIB.

Help Save Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary

During our SIB Evening program on Thursday, September 27th, our guest speaker Patrick Jodice spoke about the importance of the Brown Pelican and the protection of their habitat.  As you may already know, this is the first year Crab Bank has not been filled with the calls of chicks since shorebirds began using this tiny island as a nesting ground.

This dwindling Seabird Sanctuary Island and Important Bird Area near Shem Creek washes over twice a day at high tide this year. The SC Audubon and other organizations are working together to raise $1.4 million toward the restoration of Crab Bank, with the Army Corps of Engineers will invest the rest of the estimated $4 million needed to complete the project. Normally a project like this would cost at least twice that.

You can be a part of the movement to Save Crab Bank. Share it on your social media, go see what’s left of Crab Bank for yourself, participate this weekend in the “Paddle & Flotilla” (see below) and  donate.

″$1.5 million is beyond me, but it’s not beyond us. In December, there’s going to be a cash call, and if we don’t have the money they’re going to dredge right by. That’s an issue. What happens to Crab Bank will be a litmus test for how we want to be and how we want to act as a community.”
-Chris Crolley, Coastal Expeditions
Five local outfitters are donating their services to make this day happen. Choose one and get signed up!
Coastal Expeditions (full)
Charleston Kayak Company (full)
Put in at a private dock, at the Shem Creek Landing or at Nature Adventures (Shrimp Boat Lane). Be to the Bank by 9 a.m.
If you use the Nature Adventures Landing, you’ll get parking and use of facilities for $15 launch fee (to be donated to Crab Bank)
Register here to let us know you’re coming
Get your family together, grab a coffee and walk out to the end of the Shem Creek Boardwalk! You’ll be able to cheer us on as we migrate down the creek and assemble at Crab Bank.
Make a donation to Save Crab Bank
Want to Chat?
Call/Text (843)884-7684
Coastal Expeditions is proud to be the Outdoor Adventures Partner for the South Carolina Aquarium. Become a member for access to special outings with Coastal Expeditions!

Volunteers Needed at the Avian Conservation Center

If you are looking for an organization to volunteer with, please see the information below from:

Registration is Open for New Volunteer Staff Orientation

Join us on Sunday, September 2nd, 1-4pm, for an introduction to our Volunteer Staff program. Learn about the variety of areas where we need support and meet some of our team. You’ll be able to ask questions, get to know a few of our current Volunteer Staff, and learn about the behind-the-scenes activities that make the Center function.

Continue reading “Volunteers Needed at the Avian Conservation Center”