Volunteers Needed

We would love to have you join our team of volunteers!  Don’t worry if you are a beginning birder, we are looking for diverse skill sets, including experience or willingness to learn the following:  communications, marketing, organizing, strategic planning, leadership, financial, technology/digital media, etc. 

The committees shown with an asterisk ( * ) indicate they can be done remote from Seabrook Island. So even if you are only in the area for part of the year, you can still assist us in many areas!

  • Activities *:  Plan & coordinate workshops, bird walks, movie matinees and bird count activities for members. Committee meets via Zoom for no more than 1.5 hours about every other month.
  • Bluebird Monitoring:  Monitor Bluebird Houses located throughout Seabrook Island for one of three 6-week periods between March and August.  
  • Communications *:  Write stories to be used in SIB Blogs, Tidelines and The Seabrooker.  Update Facebook posts, Instagram and Twitter.  Share photographs with our members of activities and birds you see.
  • Shorebird Steward:  The steward program needs volunteers two-hour shifts to help educate people about the importance of our tiny piece of the world to the shorebirds that visit. This is not an enforcement effort, but an educational effort.
  • Hospitality:  Set up chairs and tables prior to meeting, register members and guests, provide and set up refreshments and clean up after each of the SIB events.
  • Membership:  Recruit and retain members.
  • Programs & Speakers *:  Plan & coordinate SIB Quarterly Programs for membership.
  • Executive Committee *:  Join the SIB board to assist with the overall strategy for our organization, take a role as President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer, lead and/or participate on committees. Committee meets via Zoom for no more than 1.5 hours every month.

Please let us know your interest by filling out this form.

Movie Matinees to Return!

Hello all bird movie fans! After a seven month movie matinee hiatus, SIB is ready to begin showing Movie Matinees!

  • The first movie will be a virtual movie using Zoom on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 at 4 pm.
  • The second movie, Tuesday, December 13, 2022, will be a hybrid showing, meaning we will show the movie virtually on Zoom but we will also have an in-person option at the Oystercatcher Community Center on Seabrook Island, SC.

Now we need your help!!!

We are looking for several volunteers to make this happen. You don’t have to have any special skills, just a willingness to give your time and take on some of the responsibilities listed below:

  • All Volunteers
    • Participate in selection of the movies
    • Determine the Movie Matinee schedule for 2023
  • Virtual Volunteers
    • Operate the Zoom portion including sharing the videos
    • Introduce the movie and host the event
  • In Person Volunteers
    • Pick up and return key for Oystercatcher Community Center
    • Set up and take down chairs
    • Set up hospitality station
    • Set up a computer to view movie on the TV screens
    • Co-host the event

Please let us know if you have questions or are interested to join our SIB Movie Matinee team by sending us an email using the button below. Thank you!!!

Bluebirds have started nesting!

Eastern Bluebirds – Charley Moore

The Eastern Bluebirds have started to build their nests!  Monday morning, four different SIB members reported seeing nesting material being taken into boxes.  Susanne Brown’s box with a camera has captured the work in progress.  Expect a blog later showing a chronological series of pictures from her box.

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 2022 Season.  Please read the note below from coordinator Melanie Jerome and contact her if you are interested to support this initiative. There are still two team spots available June 25 to August session. 


 

Dear Bluebirders,

It`s that time again to schedule our volunteers for the upcoming season. Volunteers Val and Pat Luzadder have volunteered to do the maintenance on all the boxes this winter and they are continuing on the project.

The schedule is below
 
Mar 6- April 30
May 1- June 25
June 25 – August 13
 
Trails are Crooked Oaks 1 & 2
Ocean Winds
Lake House
 
Please let me know when you are available and which golf course you want. When it gets closer to March, I will have your buckets ready for the first group of volunteers. 
 
I would also like to remind everyone to be aware of any golfers on the course at the time of your monitoring. Never get in front of a golfer unless they motion for you to go through. If you come up on a golfer group, stay back until they are done with their play. Always call the golf club to let them know you are coming to monitor. They then can let you know of tournaments , etc. 
 

A refresher on volunteers’ responsibilities:

  • 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
SeabrookBluebirds@gmail.com
614-570-3951

Seabrook Island Shorebird Steward Program

Seabrook Island Shorebird Stewards Return to the Beach!

Daily, starting on March 1, 2022, Seabrook Island beachgoers may see Shorebird Stewards like Seabrook Island resident Tim Finan on North Beach. Shorebird Stewards educate people about the various shorebirds that use the Seabrook Island Beaches. All shorebird species are in decline and need help. Shorebird Stewards explain why shorebirds use the Seabrook Island beach and why beachgoers should “Share the Beach- Give Them Space”.

The Seabrook Island Shorebird Steward program is looking for more volunteers. Starting in March until July, stewards spend 2 hour shifts on the beach. The schedule is flexible and a scheduling website makes it easy to find times to fit anyone’s schedule.

Stewards don’t have to be a skilled birder. During the training program, participants learn shorebird identification, how to use our optics, and how to be a good steward. The training consists of a 2-hour classroom session plus on-beach field training.

People interested in becoming a Shorebird Steward can register here (sib.wildlifepreservationservices.com). To prevent bots from invading the site, registration requires several steps. All new Stewards should attend an SCAudubon led training on February 19, 2022, starting at 9:00 AM in the Oystercatcher Community Room or watch a recording of the presentation. All Stewards new or returning, need to participate in one of the many scheduled field training dates (details to be provided to those who register). For more information or to join us for a North Beach bird walk, please contact: sibstewards@gmail.com.

Free Virtual Evening Event featuring SC-DNR Felicia Sanders

The public is invited to enjoy a zoom presentation by Felicia Sanders on “Hemispheric Flights of Migratory Shorebirds” on February 16, 2022, at 7pm. Felicia has been active in shorebird conservation and research for over thirty years. Her talk draws on her many years of banding and tracking shorebirds including her 5 trips to the Arctic. She will also focus on the technology that allows scientists to track the migrations of many shorebirds that stop to rest or refuel on Seabrook: Red Knots, Whimbrel, Dunlin and others. 

SIB Members Elect 2022 Officers

As a result of the postponement of the January meeting of 2022, Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) asked our members to vote electronically. The slate of officers nominated by the Executive Committee to lead SIB in 2022 and approved by our members are:

Officers:
—Past Chair – Judy Morr
—Chair – Joleen Ardaiolo
—Vice Chair – Walter Brooks
—Membership/Treasurer –Nancy Brown
—Secretary – Beverly Stribling

In addition to the officers, the SIB Executive Committee is made of of the following committee leads:

Standing Committees:
-Activities – Bob Mercer
-Bluebird Trails Chair – Melanie Jerome
-Communications – Judy Morr/Beverly Stribling/Jackie Brooks
-Hospitality – Lesley Gore
-Program Chair – Ed Konrad
-Shorebird Steward – Bob Mercer
-Web Master – Nancy Brown

Directors-At-Large:
– Tim Barnard
– Mary Wilde

If you are interested to join a committee, please fill out our Volunteer Form. To contact any officer, please send an email to: seabrookislandbirders@gmail.com.

2022 Seabrook Island Birders – Executive Committee:
Top Row: Lesley Gore, Nancy Brown, Judy Morr
Middle Row: Melanie Jerome, Mary Wilde, Joleen Ardaiolo
Bottom Row: Bob Mercer, Ed Konrad, Walter Brooks
Missing: Beverly Stribling, Tim Finan

Ask SIB: Eastern Bluebird Winter Behavior

On January 9, 2021, Andy wrote SIB, “Today we saw maybe half dozen blue birds and one was sitting on the entry hole.  Isn’t it early for them to be nesting?  Has the warm weather put them off schedule?”

Eastern Bluebird – photo by Bob Mercer

The questions are relatively easy to answer. Yes, it is too early for them to be nesting, so they are not “off schedule” due to the weather. As usual, the questions lead to another question; what are the birds doing?

Since Eastern Bluebirds are year-round residents in our area, one can watch the full range of behaviors. During the winter months, bluebirds can gather in flocks of up to 20 birds. These flocks consist of one or more family units. In really cold weather, a flock of bluebirds may all cram into a single cavity, presumably for shared body warmth. Pair bonding for bluebirds can happen anytime between November and March.

This photo of an Eastern Bluebird entering the box and the female watching perfectly captures some of the courtship behavior–wing droop tail spread. Photo by Nancy Brown

During the courtship and nesting period, the flocking behavior disappears. Once a pair settles on a territory, they work hard to drive away all competitors including their siblings. 

It is difficult to know exactly what Andy observed, but one can make an educated guess. Since he saw a half dozen birds, he observed a winter flock. The bird sitting at the nesting hole most likely was a male bird checking out the box for its potential. 

Once a male makes a choice, he will then attempt to attract a mate or to solidify his relationship with his current mate. According to the Cornel Lab of Ornithology website Birds of the World, the male goes through a very predictable pattern of behavior. The male institutes a nesting demonstration display where he perches at a hole holding nesting material with his wings drooping and his tail spread wide. He looks around, presumably to make sure his intended is paying attention, and then look in the hole. The next step is to rock back and forth into and out of the hole before going in the cavity. Once in the cavity, he will stick his head out still holding the nesting material. Leaving the material in the cavity, he then hops out near the hole and does a wing waving display. The female entering the box cements the pair bond. 

People with bluebird boxes they can view, or who have cameras trained on a box, may be lucky enough to watch this behavioral sequence. 

Nesting on Seabrook Island usually begins around the first of March. The Seabrook Island Birders sponsor a bluebird box monitoring program. Volunteers have a route where they check a series of boxes once a week to monitor if birds use the boxes and nesting success of failure. Anyone interested in helping is encouraged to contact the Seabrook Island Birders.

Be sure to read tomorrow’s article discussing the installation and monitoring of a birdhouse with an outside WIFI camera!

Gowaty, P. A. and J. H. Plissner (2020). Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.easblu.01

Ask SIB: “Are Red Knots at North Beach?”

Fred Whittle recently sent a question to Seabrook Island Birds. He asked, “Are Red Knots at North Beach now?  Thought I saw them on Sunday afternoon.”  

Photo taken of Red Knots and other Shore & Seabirds by Mark Andrews on 12/28/21.  Notice the misty view, as there was a thick marine layer with visibility of only around 50m date day.

The quick answer is yes. Mark Andrews recently reported 300 birds at the end of North Beach. That leads people who like birds to a host of other questions. First and foremost, “Why are they here?” Instinct drives much bird behavior. The hard-wired drive to migrate makes birds leave the far north long before conditions become untenable for life. Some but not all of the eastern race of Red Knots, Calidris canutus rufa, migrate from the Central Canadian Arctic to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America. With studies being done by scientists and observations like birders on Seabrook Island, much has been learned about Red Knot migration habits and much more still needs to be discovered. Knots spend winter in four regions:

  1. Southern coast of S. America, mainly Tierra del Fuego
  2. Northern coast of S. America, mainly Maranhão
  3. Western Gulf of Mexico, mainly the Laguna Madre
  4. Southeast U.S./Caribbean, mainly FL to NC

Evolution created these four regions as ways to protect the populations. Each location offers advantages and disadvantages—e.g. long or short distance to travel low or high parasite exposure. Unfortunately, a evolutionary new risk has arisen in these ancestral wintering grounds—humans. Development along the migratory route and probably climate change stress the migrants. 

The work being done by SCDNR, University Of South Carolina’s Senner Lab, and our local birders strive to understand if the same birds each year hang around South Carolina or are they stopping here on their way to Florida or farther south. We do know that the numbers of Red Knots slowly increase as the season passes into spring. We do know that many of our birds spend time in Florida and when they arrive here, they may stay several weeks of even months before flying on to either New Jersey’s Delaware Bay or directly to the southern tip of the Hudson Bay.

In May, birds with flags indicating that they were banded in South America show up on Seabrook Island. They join up with the birds already here before they all depart sometime before Memorial Day.

For all these birds, the arc along the South Carolina coast provides a critically important stopping area where they can pack on the fat before tackling the long flight to the Arctic and the arduous task of raising the next generation.

When you see people out on the beach taking pictures, recognize that the photographers want far more than pretty picture, they want clear images of the tiny flags on the bird’s legs. Once scientists receive these flag codes, the scientists can start to build a better understanding of the migratory patterns of the Red Knots.

When you are on the beach, remember, “Share the beach – give them space!” If you have questions or are interested to learn more about the SIB Shorebird Steward team, please send and email to: sibstewards@gmail.com or complete this form.

Volunteer to Bird Your Backyard on Monday January 3rd, 2022

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 122nd annual CBC on the designated day of Monday January 3, 2022.  

This past year, on January 3, 2021, 19 SIB members contributed to the 2020 -2021 CBC. A total of 111 different bird species accounting for more than 6,000 birds were sighted by our volunteers during more than 80 equivalent hours in backyards, on the beach, at the marsh and beyond.

This year we are looking for all available “backyard birders” to assist with the count. All birds observed within a 24hr period on that day can be counted.   If interested, sign up here, and we will send you detailed instructions on how to record your observations throughout the day  to reduce the chance of double-counting the same individuals.  Please read the instructions carefully and if you have any questions, please let us know. 

Some more uncommon species that are notable and can be found at backyard feeders include hummingbirds,  Baltimore Orioles, and Painted Buntings.  Don’t assume all hummingbirds are Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.  During the winter, it is not uncommon for western species such as Rufous Hummingbirds, Black-chinned Hummingbird, or others to make their way to the east coast.  If you have a “different” looking hummingbirds please try to get a photo of it so that it can get identified.    Even more rare could be Purple Finches, Pine Siskins, Red-breasted Nuthatches and Evening Grosbeaks

Please enjoy the photos taken by several SIB members during the day a few years ago.  If you are interested to participate in the 122nd Christmas Bird Count on Seabrook Island on Monday January 3, 2021, register today!


Photographs Submitted by:  Charles Moore, Patricia Schaefer

Request for Help!

American Oystercatchers on North Beach

HELP WANTED! With the increasing number of visitors to our beaches we need
more volunteers to help protect the Red Knots, American Oystercatchers and
Least Terns. We haven’t had a successful Least Tern nesting on our beach since
2018 and Oystercatcher U5, who is nested out there, tried three times last year
without success.

If you can spare just a couple of hours per week from now until the end of June to help keep visitors a safe distance from the nesting area, please let us know. We are looking for people to be on the beach from 10-12pm and 12-2:00pm or
maybe even bring your lunch & do a double shift from 10-2p!

This will not be the full steward expectation since the Red Knots are about to head north.We need people to monitor the Nesting Area to protect the nesting birds from disturbance. You will use our cart and wear a Steward Vest to identify your function. Just your presence will make a difference.

We will give you a quick training course on Least Terns and American Oystercatchers nesting and provide you with a reference guide. We will also get you registered on our website that allows you to self schedule and make an easy shift report on your phone. The experience will be easy, rewarding and very much appreciated!

The SIB Shorebird Steward Program Team
● Mark Andrews
● Lesley Gore
● Melanie Jerome
● Bob Mercer
Email: SIBStewards@gmail.com

Support the Avian Conservation Center

The Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) encourages our members and friends to support the Avian Conservation Center, located in Awendaw, SC.

The Avian Conservation Center is asking for your support at this most critical time.
 
We are coming to you now to ask that you please help us fund the $55,000 in the direct medical and husbandry expenses that we will incur in this second quarter now upon us. As we work to recover from the severe financial impacts of the past several months, we cannot fail to meet the current demands of the birds in critical need of care.

We have raised over $16,130 of our $55,000
Avian Medical Clinic Fundraising goal

THANK YOU to those of you who have already donated!

Your donation today can support avian patients like the Bald Eagle featured in this beautiful release video. He was recently released after 66 days of care in our Avian Medical Clinic. His treatments included; food, medication, blood work and radiographs all totaling $1,690 for his entire stay in our clinic. You can learn more about his specific case by following the link to the release video and reading the description.

Support the work of our Avian Medical Clinic By:

1) Donating directly to the Medical Clinic
Donate to Support Our Medical Clinic

2) Visiting our Amazon Wish list to purchase much needed supplies
Visit Amazon Wish list

You can continue to monitor the progress of our Virtual Avian Medical Clinic Fundraiser by visiting our website:
Visit our Website

To read about some of our Avian Medical Clinic’s successes this year and view some patient release videos, visit our social media pages:

Sincerely,

The Avian Conservation Center Staff

Avian Conservation Center
Center for Birds of Prey
PO Box 1247
Charleston, SC 29402
843.971.7474
www.thecenterforbirdsofprey.org

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