Backyard Birding Q & A’s

Male Painted Bunting – C Moore

Feeding birds and attracting them to your yard inevitably leads to questions — about feeders, birdhouses, bird baths, baby birds, and more. In this free guide from Birdwatching Magazine, they answer 27 questions about birds in your backyard, including:What types of feeders are best?

  • How can I attract orioles?
  • Are decorative birdhouses as good as regular birdhouses?
  • What should I feed hummingbirds?
  • Why are birds’ eggs different colors?
  • How can I stop a woodpecker from drumming on my house?

And many more!

Backyard Birding Q & A’s from Birdwatching Magazine

Piping Plover Migration: From the Great Lakes to Seabrook Island

Piping Plover adult male, Sleeping Bear Dunes MI, July 17, 2017 – Ed Konrad

A few weeks ago, on July 17, Ed and I visited Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan, where the Great Lakes race of the Piping Plovers nest. We were so excited to see where these special little birds that visit us at Seabrook come from. We also had the pleasure of meeting up with Alice Van Zoeren, who has been monitoring the plovers for the University of Minnesota since 2004. We have been corresponding with Alice through the years, sending her pictures of banded Piping Plovers that we see in winter migration at Seabrook, and she reports back to us where the PIPL have been banded. This information is so important to researchers, to know where the birds are moving.

The Piping Plovers have 3 different “races”…the Great Lakes, the Northern Great Plains and the Atlantic Coast. The Great Lakes group breeds on the beaches of the Great Lakes region from May to early Aug. They lay 4 eggs in a small depression in the dry sand and these eggs are incubated for about a month. The Great Lakes population was once at nearly 800 pairs and has now declined to about 70 pairs that breed in the area. In 1986, the Piping Plovers were placed on the Federal Endangered Species list.

We met up with Alice on the plover breeding grounds on the edge of Lake Michigan. It was a beautiful day and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the US! Alice had counted over 16 plovers that day, including one very tiny young bird that we were lucky enough to see. He was probably 2 weeks old and had so much spunk! Alice said they are independent very quickly. They can run and feed themselves within hours of hatching. By 28 days they have a complete set of flight feathers and are accomplished fliers.

Most of the female adults had already begun migration when we were there, and Alice estimated that they could be in Seabrook well before us. The males will be the next and after that, the chicks. Ed photographed many of the banded birds so we would have a record of them so we can be on the lookout for them when they pass through Seabrook!

We arrived back at Seabrook this past Thursday night, and spotted 3 Piping Plovers on Friday AM, and 4 on Saturday, on our beach!!! Two were banded, one was a Great Lakes bird. We are waiting to hear from Alice in Michigan about it’s origin. 

What a thrill it was to see where it all begins!!! Keep an eye out for Piping Plovers at our beaches, beginning now!

Article by Aija Konrad
Photos by Ed Konrad

SIB Member Profile: Charley Moore

Charley Moore

Yes, I am a certified tree-hugger. I have always considered myself an environmentalist, naturalist, and biologist. Growing up in the 1950’s on a small Kentucky farm that included at one time or another nearly every animal that has ever been domesticated, I obtained an early appreciation for animals and the value and satisfaction of growing one’s own food. Fishing and hunting small game was a way of life and much of my time was spent in the woods. Being dyslectic, reading was always a chore and most learning in school was through osmosis. Needless to say, until college I was never a very good student.

The Berlin wall resulted in my spending a couple years in the Army. I then attended Eastern Kentucky University majoring in Chemistry and Biology. Seeing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time during spring break my Junior year, resulted in wanting to become a marine biologist. Following graduate school at the University of Delaware the next 9 years were spent studying Chesapeake Bay fish populations in the vicinity of coal fired and nuclear electric power plants for the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.

Moving my family (wife, Marty and two children, Wendy and Joe) to Charleston in 1977, I began my career with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as a fisheries manager. Over the next 28 years I worked to establish many of South Carolina’s current state laws dealing with marine fisheries, including establishing a saltwater fishing license. I was the Stewardship Coordinator for the ACE Basin and the National Stewardship Representative for the Estuarine Research Reserve System with reserves in all 22 coastal states.

Having worked in South Carolina’s coastal area for nearly 30 years, there was only one place I planned to retire – Seabrook Island. In preparation for retirement, in 2004 we sold our cut-your-own Christmas Tree farm which we had operated for the past 18 years on Young’s Island and moved to Seabrook Island. I retired form DNR in 2005.

The past thirteen years have been Marty’s and my best years – Seabrook Island is our idea of heaven. Where else is nature such an integral part of a neighborhood. Simply walking out your front door or taking a short walk on the beach provides a vast array of birds and other wildlife that call Seabrook Island home.

Seabrook Island’s wide variety of birds and wildlife has resulted in revitalizing my interest in photography. I have been active on the Environmental Committee for the past ten years, chaired the Deer Management Task Force, written “Wild Things” articles for the Seabrooker, grown my own vegetables, chaired the community vegetable gardens and currently serve on the Board of the Green Space Conservancy.

In October 2015, Marcia Hider and I placed a notice in the lobby of the Lake House for residents to indicated if they would be interested in forming a birding group and if they would be willing to help organize it. In two weeks seventy residents had replied positively and seven agreed to help organize such a group. Two-months later the first Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) membership meeting was held with 130 residents attending. Today, SIB with the moto “Watching, Learning and Protecting,” has over 230 members and continues to grow. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as the Board Chairman during this period.

Submitted by:  Charles Moore

SIB Learning Together at Crooked Oaks Golf Course

On a warm Saturday morning on July 15th, sixteen Seabrook Island Birders enjoyed a Learning Together “Bird Walk” on Crooked Oaks Golf Course which was closed for annual summer maintenance.  The Club graciously gave us access to not only the course but also use of carts for the outing, which helped to beat the heat of the July morning.  Due to the size of the group, the Birders split in to two groups with one going forward on the course and the other going backwards.  Each group had members with cameras to capture some of the birds seen.

The two groups met on the eleventh green where the Red Headed Woodpeckers have a nest in a dead pine. Each of our photographers captured the birds for prosperity while Charley Moore was able to catch them in their mating dance.

Since both groups were on the course at the same time, it would be expected the sited species would be very similar.  The group starting on the first hole saw 21 species.  The group starting on 18 saw 25 species. Only 15 of these species were the same for a total of 31 species.  Even with seeing so many birds on a  warm morning, neither group saw some common birds such as Turkey Vultures, Painted Buntings or Mourning Doves.  It proves that birding is always an experience in being at the right place at the right time.

Mississippi Kite – Glen Cox

A highlight for both groups was the Mississippi Kites which perched for the group and continued to fly by so we could see their grace as they dove to catch insects while in flight.

It must have been breakfast time for the birds as in addition to the Kite, an Osprey was seen eating a fish and a proud Eastern Bluebird had a lizard.

It was a great morning to Learn Together and enjoy some of the wonders of Seabrook Island.  Thanks to the Seabrook Island Club for making this possible.

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Article Submitted by:  Judy Morr
Photos taken by:  Marie Wardell, Glen Cox and Charley Moore

Group starting on first hole:

1 Double-crested Cormorant
25 Brown Pelican
1 Great Egret
1 Tricolored Heron
4 Green Heron
3 Osprey
4 Mississippi Kite
2 Laughing Gull
1 Red-headed Woodpecker
2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
2 Great Crested Flycatcher
2 Blue Jay
3 American Crow
3 Fish Crow
1 Barn Swallow
3 Carolina Chickadee
2 Tufted Titmouse
2 Carolina Wren
4 Eastern Bluebird
1 Northern Mockingbird
2 Northern Cardinal

Group starting on eighteenth hole:

4 Wild Turkey
1 Anhinga
20 Brown Pelican
1 Great Blue Heron
2 Snowy Egret
3 Green Heron
2 Osprey
3 Mississippi Kite
1 Red-tailed Hawk
2 Laughing Gull
1 Belted Kingfisher
2 Red-headed Woodpecker
2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Pileated Woodpecker
10 American Crow
2 Fish Crow
3 Carolina Chickadee
3 Tufted Titmouse
4 Carolina Wren
11 Eastern Bluebird
6 Northern Mockingbird
7 Northern Cardinal
2 Red-winged Blackbird
2 House Finch

SIB Backyard Birding at Lee Hurd’s

Entrance Lee Hurd’s Garden at 2116 Loblolly Lane

Early Saturday Morning on July 8th, seven Seabrook Island Birders braved the heat and enjoyed a wonderful morning of birding. Lee Hurd’s home is on a double lot where she has created a beautiful garden sanctuary beside her home. Bird feeders and bird baths are spaced beautifully between her gorgeous landscaping.

We started the walk on her back deck, drinking coffee, munching on goodies, and enjoying the many birds at her feeder. We saw Blue Jays and Downy Woodpeckers, with a Painted Bunting making an appearance. Mr. Alligator swam in Lee’s lagoon to take a look at us. Twin fawns scampered by, taking a peek at us strange animals with big black things glued to our eyes. 

My favorite part was taking a walk through her gardens and listening to the many birds. We saw Mississippi Kites, Red-headed Woodpeckers, and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. A total of 23 different species were seen and heard during our two hours at Lee’s gardens.

Lee has asked us to extend an invitation to visit her garden to all the members of the Seabrook Island Birders. We can stop by her garden at 2116 Loblolly Lane anytime to sit and enjoy the nature; nothing would make her happier!

Thank you, Lee!

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Article Submitted by:  Melanie Jerome
Photos taken by:  Dean Morr

3 Brown Pelican
1 Great Blue Heron
1 Great Egret
1 Green Heron
3 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
1 Turkey Vulture
5 Mississippi Kite
11 Laughing Gull
2 Mourning Dove
1 Red-headed Woodpecker
3 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Pileated Woodpecker
1 Great Crested Flycatcher
3 Blue Jay
3 American Crow
2 Carolina Chickadee
5 Tufted Titmouse
1 Carolina Wren
1 Eastern Bluebird
1 Yellow-throated Warbler
4 Northern Cardinal
1 Painted Bunting

Bird Sighting: Reddish Egrets are back for the Summer!

Reddish Egret North Beach – Ed Konrad

Name of Bird Species: Reddish Egret
Number of Birds Sighted: 2
Date & Time of Sighting: July 1, 2017, 9-10am
Location of Sighting: North Beach at low tide

The Reddish Egrets are here on North Beach! One was spotted by David Gardner on Friday, June 30. That night, Aija and I spotted two Reddish Egrets on Kiawah East Beach, an adult and an immature. On Saturday, July 1, Aija spotted an immature Reddish along the Ocean one half hour before low tide at the far end of North Beach. I photographed it for an hour as it did it’s beautiful fishing dance, moving through the tidal pools from near the ocean, across the wide low tide beach, and to the shore by the “no dogs allowed” sign.

Aija then spotted a second immature Reddish Egret in her scope at Beachwalker Park. This Reddish then flew across the channel to Seabrook, and was joined back out at the ocean by the one I had been photographing. So, there are at least three Reddish Egrets, these two immature birds, and the adult we saw at Kiawah East Beach.

The immature Reddish Egret is a paler ashy-gray color. An adult Reddish Egret is more distinctive in color, with clean gray body and shaggy reddish neck. There may be a Tricolored Heron also fishing in the tide pools, and it has a white stripe on the neck and white under wings and on body.

The Reddish has a wide variety of feeding behaviors: running through shallows with long strides, staggering sideways, leaping in air, raising one or both wings as a canopy to shade schools of small fish seeking shelter in the shade, and abruptly stabbing at fish.

We did not see a Reddish on Monday, July 3. But keep looking. It should be on North Beach possibly through September.

Article Submitted by Aija Konrad, Photos by Ed Konrad

Happy Friday – Roseate Spoonbill at the Fire Station Marsh

Good Morning and Happy Friday!

Judy Morr has just spotted a Roseate Spoonbill at the Fire Station!  They are back on Seabrook Island so watch out for these beautiful and interesting birds!

Roseate Spoonbill – Ed Konrad