Are There “Hunger Games” at Your Feeder?

I was recently talking to my neighbor and she told me that her hummingbird feeder had to come down because she was tired of the birds fighting over it. What? I thought that was just friendly hummingbird roughhousing! Apparently, this really is aggressive, “Get off my lawn!” type behavior. According to a recent Audubon article, Who Wins The Feeder War?, the hummingbirds need to feed regularly and this behavior has evolved to protect their food source. 

CBC Backyard – Ruby-throated Hummingbird – Charles Moore

This article has put watching my seed feeders in a whole new perspective. With data gathered from Project FeederWatch, a Cornell Lab researcher has found a “Hunger Games” type feeding hierarchy at the feeders. If you watch, you will notice the Chickadee waits for the larger Titmouse to leave the feeder. However, body size isn’t always the determining factor. The article shows some interesting matchups that we would definitely see here. For instance, the noticeably smaller Downy Woodpecker ranks higher because of his larger bill as compared to the Pileated Woodpecker. There’s no arguing with a larger weapon!

With so many birds on Seabrook Island, you should check out joining Project FeederWatch to add your stats to their research and witness the “Hunger Games” in your backyard.

European Starlings, Blue Jays, and Red-bellied Woodpecker. Photo: Carolyn Lehrke/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 Submitted by: Joleen Ardaiolo

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Join us Thursday to Bird at Kiawah River Development

REGISTER NOW!

Thursday November 29, 2018 9:00 am – 11:30 am
Learning Together at Kiawah River Development
Location: Meet at Kiawah River Development Real Estate office to car pool and walk the Development
Max: 12
Cost None for members; $5 donation for guests

SIB member Shaun Sullivan has worked with Jeff Snyder, biologist at the Kiawah River Development property, to host a visit by Seabrook Island Birders. We expect to see a large variety of birds including the newly arrived ducks, Double-crested Cormorants, Egrets, Herons, Osprey and other birds of prey. We should also see and hear some of the smaller birds like Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Cardinals and some of the many warbler species. This is a first “walk” at this location so we may be surprised with what we see. Jeff has indicated 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.

Please register no later than Tuesday November 27, 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.  A membership now will be good through December 2019.

Join us Monday to Bird on Crooked Oaks Golf Course

REGISTER NOW!

IMG_5035
Stopped along the 17th hole of Crooked Oaks to observe Eastern Bluebirds at a nesting box.

Date: Monday November 26, 2018 9:00 am – 11:30 am
Activity: Learning Together at Crooked Oaks Golf Course
Location: Meet at Island House (Golf Course Parking Lot next to Spinnaker Beach Houses) for “walk” along Crooked Oaks Golf Course in golf carts.
Max: 16
Cost: None for members; $5 donation for guest

Join us again for the popular Learning Together birding on our golf courses.  Crooked Oaks will be closed to golfers, so join us for a morning of birding by riding in golf carts for at least 9-holes on Crooked Oaks Golf Course. We expect to see a large variety of birds including Double-crested Cormorants, Egrets, Herons, Osprey and other birds of prey. We should also see and hear some of the smaller birds like Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Cardinals and some of the many warbler species. Maybe some of our winter residents may also have arrived.

As always, be sure to bring your binoculars, hats and sunscreen. Water will be provided.

Please register no later than Saturday November 24, 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.

It’s time to start Project Feederwatch!

Do you enjoy watching the birds in your backyard?  Whether you have feeders or not, you should consider becoming a citizen scientist by joining Project FeederWatch this winter.

What is Project FeederWatch?

Project FeederWatch lets you become the biologist of your own backyard. You identify the birds in your backyard or at your feeders and submit your observations to the Cornell Lab. You can count every week between November—April, or you can count only once all season—the time you spend is up to you! The easy online data entry lets you immediately see all of your counts and view colorful summaries and graphs. Anyone interested in birds can participate; you don’t have to be an expert. All you need is a comfortable chair, a window, and an interest in the birds in your neighborhood.

What has been the experience of some of my neighbors?

The Morr’s participated for the first time in 2017-2018.

  • It was a learning experience in bird identification.  The slower pace of watching them at the feeder often allowed them to observe various characteristics that made future identification easier.
  • It was fun noting the different species that appeared during different periods.
  • American Goldfinch were first seen last year on January 8 and the  high count was 2.  In the first weekend this year, 4 were seen
  • Looking back, it can be noted the American Robins were the highest number seen during one observation period.  They were only seen from mid-December through mid-January.
  • 19 different species were seen for the 2017-2018 season.  In the first two weeks of this season, 13 species have been observed.  Chipping Sparrows and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker were new species for them this year.

How do I participate?

Once you sign up you can immediately start collecting data at your feeders. Read the online instructions and use the printable tally sheets to collect your counts. In the meantime, you will be sent a research kit in the mail with your unique ID number; once you have your ID number you can enter your counts online. Kits take a few weeks to arrive, but don’t worry—it will be there soon, and you don’t need it to start collecting data.

What do I get when I register?

The cost to participate is $18 and you will receive:

  • FeederWatch Handbook & Instructions
  • Full-color poster of common feeder birds
  • Bird-Watching Days Calendar
  • The Project FeederWatch annual report, Winter Bird Highlights
  • Digital access to Living Bird magazine

The first day to count birds for the 2018-19 FeederWatch season was Saturday, November 10, 2018 and the season runs through April 5, 2019.  There are already four SIB members who have joined Project Feederwatch for the 2018-2019 winter season.  Let us know if you already are signed up! We hope more members will consider joining! 

Let us know if you have any questions and go to the Project FeederWatch website to Join Now!

Submitted by:  Judy Morr

Photos by: Dean Morr

Ask SIB … Why do I hear the Great Horned Owl in the Fall?

Great Horned Owl – Ed Konrad

Question:  For a few weeks each spring and again in the fall we hear Great Horned Owls calling back and forth out here on Jenkins Point. I’ve seen them on our roof ridge and chimney. The rest of the year we don’t hear them at all. Spring could be breeding season but why in the fall? Do these owls migrate? Submitted by Andy Allen

Answer:  Great Horned Owls are resident birds who maintain some type of territory through the year. Singing in the fall probably identifies the resident’s ownership and tells new young to go somewhere else… Neat birds – I slept in a chicken coop next to two young owls for a summer in New England. We didn’t bother each other as long as I stayed on my side of the wall… The joys of working with Audubon! Response from Carl Helms

 Thanks to Andy for the question, Carl for the response and Ed for the photo!

Seabrook Island Birders – ABCs – Activities, Bingo and Calls

Friday’s evening “Bird Bingo and Games” was not quite in alphabetical order.  We started with “D” for Drinks and of course “S” for Socialization then jumped on to “Y” for Year in Review.  Then we returned to the front of the alphabet with enjoyment of the Food provided by contributions from SIB and the various members.  Next was “C” for Calls.  This first “game” was a group session of call identification.  20 common birds were presented with their most familiar calls.  Since it was a group activity, all participated in trying to identify the various birds.  Some members expressed they were surprised they recognized many of the calls. Others commented they learned a few new calls without being intimidated by their inexperience prior to the evening.  The fun and learning experience continued with “B” for Bingo.  Instead of hearing B10 or whatever for placement of the chits, bird pictures were presented on the screen.  Again, the group helped in identifying the bird then found them on their unique Bingo card.  20 lucky people won a prize for their efforts.  Great job by all in providing food, friendship and fun!

“A” is for Activities with a number remaining for the rest of the year.  Use the links provided to register for those that interest you.

Learning Together at the Crooked Oaks – Originally scheduled for Ocean Winds on November 19, this has been changed to Crooked Oaks on November 26.  These golf course “walks” are always enjoyable as we search for birds while riding in golf carts on a closed golf course.

Learning Together on Kiawah River Development – On November 29, we will meet at 9am to explore this new birding location with the biologist from this new neighboring development.  The activity will be walking areas of the property while driving between them.  .

Learning Together at the Maintenance Area – The ducks have returned to the water treatment pond.  A good variety of birds have often been seen as Seabrook Island Utilities allows us behind their gates to see what we can find.

Backyard Birding at the Boat Ramp – Melanie and Rob Jerome once again share their Creek Watch deck to observe birds in the marsh, looking towards North Beach and the trees and grounds near their home.  A walk to the Marsh Tower and possibly the Fire Station marshes are also likely.

Christmas Bird Count – Annually Seabrook Island Birders in cooperation participates in the Sea Island Christmas Bird Count.  This year, we’ll count on January 4 hopefully without the snow we experienced last year.  Once again, we are looking for members who can help us with counts from the comfort of their homes.  All “feeder counts” are welcome but a special request has been made for people who see hummingbirds, Baltimore Orioles or Painted Buntings during the winter.  If you participated last year or register on this form, we will be contacting you at year end with more information.

Submitted by: Judy Morr

Photos by: Jackie Brooks

 

Close Encounters of the SIB Kind

Article by Aija Konrad, photos by Ed Konrad

Ed and I just returned from a trip to the great state of Washington as part of our Big Year! It was our first trip out to the state and we fell in love with all it’s beauty. Snow capped mountains, fall colors, and water, water, everywhere….how incredible were all the bays and sounds!

1 Semiahmoo Spit WA (Ed Konrad)

We spent 3 of our days at the Semiahmoo Spit, near Blaine, up by the Canada border. I reached out to a dear friend of SIB, David Gardner, who was formerly at Camp St. Christopher. David is now the Adult and Family Programs Manager at the North Cascades Institute. We met up for a great day of birding. I wanted to bird Pt. Roberts Lighthouse, which required us to go into Canada and dip back down to the spit in US waters. It turned out to be David’s first trip to Canada, however brief! (which cannot be said for our return to the US, that took over 30 min at border control…LOL)

2 Aija and David at Pt Roberts (Ed Konrad)

At Pt Roberts we had some great birding with some good seabirds, Pacific and Common Loons, Common Murres, Horned and Red-necked Grebes, White-winged and Surf Scoters, Pigeon Guillemot. One of our target species was the Northern Shrike, which we dipped on, but both found it independently in the next few days. We then returned to the Semiahmoo Spit where we had a wealth of White-winged and Surf Scoters and Harlequin Ducks. It was a great day and fun to reconnect with David. I know that SIB misses David and his love and enthusiasm for birding.

Our 2018 US Big Year adventure continues to go well! I am up to 566 species for the US this year, 66 more than I ever expected to get. We have traveled through 31 states, visited 14 National Parks, driven 25,000 miles, flown many more miles. And we’ve walked and walked a countless number of miles! We’ve been gone from home for 95 days so far this year, with trips to TX, CO/NE, IL/OH, AZ, CO/UT, FL, CA, and WA. Ed has been really enjoying helping me spot, and of course photographing the birds and incredible scenery. It’s been like a giant scavenger hunt across the US, and we are having more fun than we ever expected to have at this point in our lives. Bird on Seabrook!
Here’ the URL for Ed’s Flickr site which chronicles our Big Year.