RESCHEDULED: SIB Presents: The Center for Birds of Prey

In Person Evening Program
rescheduled to March 22, 2022

If you have already purchased a ticket and can attend the event on the new date, no action is required!

If you have not yet signed up, register today! We have already sold 66 of the 100 tickets for this event.

Date: Wednesday March 22, 2022
Registration starts 7:00pm. Program starts 7:30pm
Location: Live Oak Hall, Lake House, Seabrook Island, SC
Program Fee: Members $5.00
Attendance: Limited to 100 members

If you are not a 2022 SIB Member, you can join/renew for $10/year

Stephen Schabel, Center for Birds of Prey Director of Education, once again brings the Center’s amazing raptors to the Lake House. We’ll witness the interesting and important world of raptors through this unique indoor program. Stephen’s engaging discussion, along with watching the birds in action, will give us a wonderful education of these majestic creatures and the significant role they play as apex avian predators. 

The program is limited to 100 SIB members. SIPOA COVID protocol will be followed – masks required in Live Oak Hall, masks and physical distancing recommended while traversing other indoor space. No refreshments will be served. If COVID conditions change prior to January 19 the program could be canceled.

Questions? Email us at: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com 

Meet the speaker: Stephen Schabel, Director of Education 

A native of South Carolina, Stephen joined the Center in 2003 after completing his M.S. degree in Environmental Policy at the College of Charleston. Prior to graduate school, he spent several years exploring various teaching opportunities outside the traditional classroom, as well as a career as an accomplished mandolin player and vocalist for a variety of groups in the Charleston area. Stephen’s background in education and environmental policy along with his lifelong passion for the outdoors -especially birds – offers a unique and relevant foundation for his role as Director of Education. Stephen oversees the care, husbandry, and training of the Center’s educational resident bird collection as well as the design and implementation of conservation education programs offered by the Center throughout South Carolina and beyond. Stephen particularly enjoys the aspects of “lure flying” falcons and conversing one on one with visitors about issues related to the conservation of birds and other wildlife.

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.

Update: Favorite Apps for Birding

Do you have a smart phone or a tablet?  Are you interested in learning more about birds or trying to identify a bird?  Why carry a heavy paper guidebook into the field or even around the house when you probably have a smart phone or tablet nearby!?!  Like with everything, there is an App for ANYTHING!  And more for birding seem to be added all the time.   Therefore, we decided to republish information on some of favorites of today.  (Note: We use Apple products so our experience is with the iOS versions.)

In this blog, we will focus on four apps, providing a brief summary.   Please use the links to learn more about each and to download to your device(s).   Most have tutorials available either in the app or on YouTube.  After you check the apps out, if you want more help or to share your experience, register for our app workshop to be held Tuesday January 25 at 4:00.

Merlin Bird ID

The first one I recommend to everyone, especially people new to birding, is called Merlin Bird ID.  Just answer five simple questions about a bird or upload a photo of a bird you are trying to identify, and Merlin will come up with a list of possible matches. Merlin offers quick identification help for beginning and intermediate bird watchers to learn about 650 of North America’s most common birds!  Cornell Lab of Ornithology created it in partnership with Birds in the Hand, LLC.  And the best part is it is FREE! (On my phone I have downloaded Bird Pack for Continental US and Canada and it takes about 2.5 GB of space).  Merlin also has the option to use a photo to help you identify a bird or the most recent addition is “Sound ID” which allows you to record a bird and it identifies the bird by comparing to its library of recordings.  It has the option to interface with your eBird account for personalized information.

Continue reading “Update: Favorite Apps for Birding”

Beyond Our Backyard-Kiawah River Estates Development

Beyond Our Backyard at Kiawah River DevelopmentSunday, January 16,2022 8:00am-11:00am
Learning Together at Kiawah River Development
Location: Meet at the “bridge” entering the property
Cost None for members; $5 donation for guests

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. 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.

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

If you are not yet a 2022 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $10 by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/. You may bring the form and your dues to the event. Or you may pay the Guest Fee of $5.

Please REGISTER no later than Friday, January 14, 2022. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on the day prior to the event.

SIB participates in Christmas Bird Count

On Tuesday, January 4, 17 SIB members once again participated in the fantastic annual tradition that is the Christmas Bird Count! Every year, birdwatchers all over North America (and elsewhere) head out bird counting in an attempt to gather a scientific snapshot of the bird population in our area.

Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is conducted every year with 2022 being the 122nd year. This year, they projected 603 circles to submit data. Each circle is a defined area with no overlaps and remains constant from year to year so data comparisons may be made. Each circle does their count on one specified day between December 14 and January 5.

Seabrook Island is part of the Sea Islands CBC circle which is coordinated by Aaron Givens. Nancy Brown coordinated the activities on Seabrook Island for SIB and submitted our results to Aaron for consolidation. We had 10 teams of birders hitting Seabrook Island “hotspots” of Jenkins Point, Palmetto Lake, North Beach, the Lake District, Camp St Christopher, SIPOA/Club horse pasture and maintenance area, Crooked Oaks and Ocean Winds golf courses, and Bobcat/Six Ladies Trail. These teams saw 98 species and 1914 individual birds. We walked 27 miles, drove 3.4 miles and rode in golf carts 9.8 miles for 34 people hours of effort! Amazing!

Female Western Tanager – Jackie Brooks

In addition our team consisted of nine feeder watch homes sighting 39 species and 275 individual birds during 22.5 people hours of watching. Our feeder watch observers saw 7 species missed by the field team so the total species on Seabrook Island was 105. One of those 7 species was a “rare” Western Tanager at Joleen Ardaiolo’s great feeders. This bird normally a summer resident in the Rockies, going slightly eastward during migration. Rarely it is seen east of the Mississippi but this female has been a regular visitor to Joleen’s feeders for about a week. When Aaron confirmed her identification, he stated he hoped it stayed for CBC….and it did!

SIB member, Kathy Woosley, took the initiative to create a new CBC circle centered on James Island which this year was considered a practice CBC. She’s not the only one involved in other CBC circles. Just some of SIB member CBC participation off of Seabrook Island:

  • Mark Andrews: Sea Islands on Wadmalaw in addition to his 2.5 miles on North Beach
  • Mike Harhold: Four Holes Swamp, Charleston and the new James Island.
  • Bob Mercer: Southern Bucks County, PA and Cape May
  • Carl and Cathy Miller: Congaree, Four Holes Swamp, Sea Islands (Kiawah side of Capn Sam, coordinating with Mark Andrews to avoid duplicate counts), Charleston and the new James Island. They are schedule to participate in another “practice” CBC this weekend: Edisto Island CBC.
  • Craig Watson: new James Island,  Winyah Bay,  McClellanville, Charleston, and ACE Basin
  • Kathy and Bill Woosley: Four Holes Swamp, Charleston (1/5), Sea Island (not on Seabrook Island and new James Island.   Kathy commented that doing Sea Island and Charleston back to back was tough on them . Her first Christmas Count was in 1974 in Lynchburg Va.

Submitted by: Judy Morr

Learning Together-Palmetto Lake

Wednesday, January 12, 2022-4:00pm -sunset
Location: Meet at Equestrian end of Lake House parking lot
Max: 15
Cost: Free for 2022 members, $5 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 probably only a quarter of a mile. As we walk along Seabrook Island Road, we hope to see some of our resident winter 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.

REGISTER HERE

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.

SIB January Movie Matinee

Movie Matinee | The Spinal ColumnSeabrook Island Birders (SIB) schedules a Movie Matinee on the second Tuesday at 4pm each month. 

With the increased number of Covid-19 cases, Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) will continue to show movies virtually via Zoom until further notice.

Please register for each event you would like to attend and you will receive confirmation with the appropriate instructions the day prior.

January Movie – Register Here

Bird Brain Tuesday January 11, 2022 from 4:00-5:00 pm Location: Zoom

Front Standard. NOVA: Bird Brain [DVD] [2017].Watch astonishing tests of avian aptitude: parrots that can plan for the future, jackdaws that can “read” human faces, and crows that can solve multi-step puzzles with tools like pebbles, sticks, and hooks. Could these just be clever tricks, based on instinct or triggered by subtle cues from their human handlers? Watch the Trailer: https://www.pbs.org/video/bird-brain-preview-vnp Please sign up to join us for an afternoon at the movies! Sign Up by January 10th and you will receive an automatic confirmation with your link for Zoom.  It will be resent to you on the day of the program. *********************************************************** Keep watch on this page and our Calendar as we continue to add activities for our members! Also, join our SIB Google Group to receive an email about short-notice bird walks and interesting bird sightings! If you are not yet a SIB member, you may become a member by following the instructions here. Thanks! Website: SeabrookIslandBirders.org E-Mail: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com Facebook: seabrookislandbirders Instagram: seabrookislandbirders Twitter: SIBirders

Learning Together-North Beach

Learning Together at North Beach Saturday January 8, 2022 10:00 am – 12:00 am
Birding at North Beach
Location: Meet at Boardwalk # 1 Parking lot
Max: none
Cost: Free for members; $5 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 2022 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $10 by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/. You may bring the form and your dues to the event. Or you may pay the Guest Fee of $5.

Please REGISTER no later than January 6th. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on January 7th, the day prior to the trip. If you need to cancel, please let us know so we can invite people on the waitlist to attend.

SIB Presents: The Center for Birds of Prey

In Person Evening Program January 19, 2022

Date: Wednesday January 19, 2022
Registration starts 7:00pm. Program starts 7:30pm
Location: Live Oak Hall, Lake House, Seabrook Island, SC
Program Fee: Members $5.00
Attendance: Limited to 100 members

If you are not a 2022 SIB Member, you can join/renew for $10/year

Stephen Schabel, Center for Birds of Prey Director of Education, once again brings the Center’s amazing raptors to the Lake House. We’ll witness the interesting and important world of raptors through this unique indoor program. Stephen’s engaging discussion, along with watching the birds in action, will give us a wonderful education of these majestic creatures and the significant role they play as apex avian predators. 

The program is limited to 100 SIB members. SIPOA COVID protocol will be followed – masks required in Live Oak Hall, masks and physical distancing recommended while traversing other indoor space. No refreshments will be served. If COVID conditions change prior to January 19 the program could be canceled.

Questions? Email us at: SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com 

Meet the speaker: Stephen Schabel, Director of Education 

A native of South Carolina, Stephen joined the Center in 2003 after completing his M.S. degree in Environmental Policy at the College of Charleston. Prior to graduate school, he spent several years exploring various teaching opportunities outside the traditional classroom, as well as a career as an accomplished mandolin player and vocalist for a variety of groups in the Charleston area. Stephen’s background in education and environmental policy along with his lifelong passion for the outdoors -especially birds – offers a unique and relevant foundation for his role as Director of Education. Stephen oversees the care, husbandry, and training of the Center’s educational resident bird collection as well as the design and implementation of conservation education programs offered by the Center throughout South Carolina and beyond. Stephen particularly enjoys the aspects of “lure flying” falcons and conversing one on one with visitors about issues related to the conservation of birds and other wildlife.

SIB “Bird of the Week” – Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing – Bombycilla cedrorum
Length:  7.25″; Wingspan: 12″; Weight: 1.1 oz.

I just love Cedar Waxwings and they are one of my very favorite birds!  They are such a cool looking bird with that sleek brown crest that often lies flat over the back of the head.  Waxwings  are medium-sized gregarious birds that are silky brownish overall with a pale yellowish belly and white under its tail coverts.  Cedar Waxwings acquired their name as the adults have wax-like red droplets on the tips of their secondary feathers.  It looks like someone dipped these feathers in hot red wax. Their somewhat short, square tail has a bright yellow band at the tip and they have short broad bills with a slight hook for gripping and swallowing large berries. These “Batman” looking birds have black masks edged in white and a black chin patch.

Males and females look alike, however, immature Waxwings have lots of brown streaking on their chests, much smaller crests, no black chin patch and no black “Batman” mask.

Cedar Waxwings are very sociable birds and almost always travel in flocks while in search of berries. Flocks of these birds will suddenly appear in an area, stripping trees and bushes of the berries and then vanish quickly when the crop is exhausted.  In the winter and fall they feed on dogwoods, pokeweed, grape, mountain ash and apple.  One of their favorite foods is a juniper called the Eastern Red-cedar.  In the summer they eat strawberries, mulberries, cherries, blueberries, blackberries and honeysuckle.  They also eat protein rich insects including mayflies, dragonflies, stoneflies and flower petals and sap.  Their insect catching behavior mimics a flycatcher as they leap off branches to grab insects in flight.

Cedar Waxwings inhabit deciduous, coniferous, and mixed woodlands and like to nest in brushy areas near streams.  Scientists have discovered that Waxwings select mates of similar ages. During courtship males often pass a small item like a fruit, insect, or flower petal, to the female. After taking the fruit, the female usually hops away and then returns giving back the item to the male. They repeat this a few times until the female eats the gift.

Waxwings build cup-like nests in the fork of high tree branches.  The nests are constructed of twigs and grasses and lined with finer materials such as animal hair, pine needles, spider webs or moss.  Both sexes gather nesting material however the female does most of the nest construction. It takes 5-6 days to construct the nest and may take up to 2500, yes this isn’t a misprint, 2500 individual trips to the nest to build it.

Cedar Waxwings lay 4-5 eggs and incubation by the female happens in 12-14 days and the pair often nest twice in the summer.  Most Waxwings breed at 1 year old and they breed later than other birds as they time the hatching when there is a good supply of berries to feed their young. Adult Waxwings have a pouch in their throat and may regurgitate as many as thirty choke cherries at one time into their young bird’s mouths.  It has been said that Waxwings sometimes becomes intoxicated from eating fermented berries in winter.

Experts have seen several Waxwings sitting in a row passing a berry or insect from one to the other up and down the row until finally one bird decides to swallow it.

Waxwings are here on Seabrook Island in the winter, you just have to be on alert to hear their high pitched call. Most times you will hear Waxwings before you see them.  Once you get accustomed to their call you will be able to pick them out often.

Please watch the video below for a good overview of these fabulous birds!

If you would like to learn more about this bird visit:

Article submitted by:  Flo Foley 2017, resubmitted by SIB
Photographs provided by:  Ed Konrad & Charles Moore

This blog post is part of a series SIB will publish on a regular basis to feature birds seen in the area, both migratory and permanent residents.  When possible we will use photographs taken by our members.    Please let us know if you have any special requests of birds you would like to learn more about.

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