The Seabrook Island Birders Shorebird Stewards and the Kiawah Shorebird Stewards have worked together to share educational opportunities. Spring 2022, Bette Popillo, Kiawah Shorebird Steward Program Coordinator, arranged a wonderful set of talks given by four prominent biologists who work with shorebirds and seabirds. We have collected the links to those talks in this article to create a single reference for stewards (and others) to bookmark and review the valuable information that was presented. We’ve also included the artistry of Pam Cohen, a Kiawah photographer who has fallen in love with Red Knots and Bob Mercer’s “Shorebird Identification” presentation.
Abby Sterling, PhD: “Busy Beaches after Red Knots: Supporting Our Nesting Shorebirds”.
Abby is the Director of the Manomet’s Georgia Bight Shorebird Conservation Initiative. Her excellent talk focuses on American Oystercatchers and Wilson’s Plovers and draws on her graduate work and continuing experience with both species. Abby revealed in this talk that she was present as a student when our resident oystercatcher, U5, was banded in 2008!
Nolan Schillerstrom: “ The Sassy Seabird:Least Terns”.
Nolan is the SCAudubon Coastal Program Associate, who has led our steward training for the last several years (most recently with Alyssa Zebrowski). Least Terns are one of his favorites.
Fletcher Smith, “Red Knot Research in the Southeast”
Fletcher is a shorebird biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, who has worked with migrating birds for over 17 years. Red Knots have greatly declined in the last 50 years, but what is being done to understand more about why? He will share interesting findings from a long-term Red Knot project of counting, surveying, trapping, and banding them. Learn how Kiawah and Seabrook are critical to the survival of this species! (Note:Fletcher had some technical difficulties with his Wifi link toward the end, but a it is certainly a very well-informed talk.)
Janet Thibault, “Black Skimmers: Creatures of Edges”
Janet is a wildlife/coastal bird biologist with South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Her many responsibilities include monitoring shorebird and seabird populations on Kiawah & Seabrook Islands as well as Deveaux Bank. In this talk, she shares some natural history, geology and adaptation of these fascinating seabirds and discusses how SCDNR is at the forefront of protection and conservation of nesting Black Skimmers in South Carolina.
Pam Cohen, “Red Knots: A Story of Migration and Survival”
Pam, a professional photographer and a Kiawah Shorebird Steward, has produced a tribute to Red Knots from her beautiful photographs.
Bob Mercer: “Shorebird Identification on Seabrook Island“
Bob, is a co-chair of Seabrook Island Birders Shorebird Stewards. He created a presentation to help people become more comfortable with shorebird identification.