Birds of Seabrook Island



  Red Knots

Species Acct.
NW Warblers


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Seabrook and Kiawah Islands are barrier islands fringing the Atlantic coast of John's Island, SC, a sea island south and west of Charleston. They are separated from each other by an estuary, the Kiawah River. They are bounded by the North Edisto River to the west and Stono Inlet to the east. They are located just north of the biodiverse ACE Basin. Added information is available from Wildlife on Kiawah Island.
   This web is intended as a primer to the diversity of birds that may be seen on Seabrook Island and adjacent coastal sites in South Carolina. It should be used with a field guide to the birds of North America and provides liberal access to on-line links where added images, range maps, and songs may be retrieved.
   Along the way, attempts to provide a framework for our birds - a classification that helps order and arrange our understanding of local birds - a parallel structure dealing with Birds of the World emerged. Feel free to ignore it. A visit to the Galapagos, often credited with solidifying Darwin's understanding of evolution by natural selection, has added some images that may be of interest (Galapagos). A recent trip to Patagonia Chile (Patagonia) added penguins and other seabirds to the web.

    Despite a long-standing list of Seabrook Island birds, a few of our current birders have attempted to construct a new list (2013) that may be easier to use. By design, it includes only those birds most likely to be seen each year, omitting the rarer possibilities. It is flawed, however, by our incomplete knowledge and formatting constraints - yet we hope it will be useful. To dowload this list, click here or in the menu above. If you prefer the more complete Kiawah list (missing only the Eurasian Collared-Dove), click here. Feedback is welcomed...


  Pelicans Great Egret chicks Yellow-rumped Warbler
  Brown Pelicans, Pelecanus occidentalis. Swash zone. A single Laughing Gull, Larus atricilla, is to the left and three Royal Terns, Sterna maxima, are in the foreground. North Beach. Summer. Great Egret, Ardea alba, chicks. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula, in the backbround. Jenkins Point. Summer 2009. The Great Egret is our most abundant heron species, found throughout the year feeding in both salt and fresh waters and foraging elsewhere for insects and lizards. Yellow-rumped Warbler, Dendroica coronata, in winter plumage. "Butterbuts" own the island in the winter. Formerly called "myrtle warblers," they feed on the berries of wax myrtles on coastal islands.
If you click on one of these images (or others in the web site),
you will be presented with a larger or different view.
Return to the web using your browser's "BACK" button.
[These larger images will print at 4 X 6" if desired.]




Left Margin:

Clicking on HOME returns you to this page. Clicking on TOP returns you to the menu bars at the top of the page.

COAST BIRDS includes a table of Contents that lists all species covered by their systematic position in the current American Ornithologists' Checklist. Various groups may be accessed within this table using the individual links along the left margin. If you wish to look up a given species, use the Index where the species are listed alphabetically.

WORLD BIRDS provides access to a table of Contents and an Index to the major groups of birds of the world. Many of us travel and see birds often placed in very unfamiliar families or orders. The ornithologist in me has led to the development of this presentation that parallels the coastal list but includes the diversity of birds that you might meet as a world traveler (along with a selection of images).

ANCEDOTES are observations and asides, usually linked to a group or a species. Most  are scattered through the web and indexed here.

The remaining items listed in the left margin access various clusters of birds. If you click the ▲ before the group link in the Coastal Birds web, you will go to the beginning page for that group and you can then page through to find the species of families in which you are interested using the BACK and NEXT buttons. Selecting the group name takes you to the Contents. In this list, NW = New World, OW = Old World.



   Buttons across the top of the page access various resources:
      Aerial Images takes you to a satellite image of the island and several aerial photos.
      Beach Birds takes you to seasonal lists of species found on the beach.
      ISLAND LIST (.pdf) displays the current Checklist of Birds of Seabrook Island.
           (Requires Adobe Acrobat)
      Birds characterized birds, discusses their origin and phylogeny and their distribution in time and space.
      Identification discusses identification, diversity, and structures that aid in field identification (including topography).
      Structure discusses feathers, development, the skeleton and muscles, and internal features.
      Classification explores the systematic ordering of birds.
      Banding discusses the uses of marked individuals in studying birds.
      Migration explores adaptive seasonal movements of populations.
      Resources includes references and brief discussions of binoculars and cameras.
      Galapagos discusses these isolated islands and shows some of their birds.
      Chile (Patagonia) visits coastal Valdivian rain forest along the Pacific.



   Species Accounts
are described in the coastal web. Note that almost all of the photos and illustrations are linked to larger copies of the image. Click on any image to retrieve this copy. When finished, return to the web using the browser's BACK button.



Within species accounts, on-line links are given to databases containing more information. Clicking
    Cornell links you to an Online Bird Guide prepared by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. and clicking
    USGS links you to the Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter (US Geological Survey).
If the site includes the song of the species, clicking that link will open your media player and you can listen to the song of the species.
   Wiki links you to Wikipedia, a broad source of information on many species, including birds of the world. [While anyone can contribute to Wikipedia, the coverage is good and mistakes tend to be corrected quickly.]
   ToL links to information on taxa found in the Tree of Life Web Project.
   EoL links to information in the Encyclopedia of Life Project.
   Several species are also linked to other Internet resources - click to visit the site.
   Use GOOGLE or another Web search engine to locate added information.
   Return to this web using the BACK button on your browser or close the external web site.


   Images are original or photos contributed by other Seabrookers and identified with the small index image (see ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS below). Some images come from locations other than Seabrook but convey information about the species or group and aid in their identification.
   The images range from professional quality to the rankest amateur. Most are far from perfect but, used with the text, your field guide, and interactive web sites, should help you learn our most common species. All are linked by the Internet to resources with better pictures, range maps and, often, recorded song clips.
   I need to point out that I have spent more time on the beach and along Capn' Sam's Creek than inland and my knowledge of our land birds is limited (see the satellite photo of the island). Note that the beach and inlet habitats have changed significantly with the relocation of the inlet in 1996 and will change again when it is recut in 2013.
   I have spent about one week in four on Seabrook over the past 14 years, learning something each visit, but not achieving saturation coverage... I still have a lot to learn.
   My original intent was to limit this web to beach birds. However, not all birds of the beach are restricted to salt water nor are inland birds prevented from enjoying the beach or salt water estuaries. As a result, the web has grown to include some reference to ALL birds that might be expected in the Carolinas (defined by Potter, et al., 2006, Birds of the Carolinas), with particular emphasis on the Birds of Seabrook Island. It is important to note that a species may be common in coastal South Carolina but is not found on Seabrook because we lack suitable habitat (e.g. longleaf pine stands, cypress swamps, etc.).
   Note that birds fly and they don't always follow the rules - so rare or unexpected species may be found (especially after storms). Look twice, use your field guide, employ common sense, and enjoy. When in doubt, call a friend - four eyes/ears are better than two!
   Information found in the Birds of the World portion of this web goes well beyond the interests of the general bird watcher on Seabrook. Note that our understanding of phylogeny is now being honed by a number of genetic studies. State-of-the-art information is found in many of the Wikipedia references which are up-dated relatively frequently. For the world traveler this part of the web may provide some insight into the larger diversity of bird
s. Note that field guides are now available for many countries.


       Our knowledge of birds on Seabrook Island has been developed by its residents and guests. Joe and Martha Stevenot, Ann Kent, Perry Nugent and others unknown to me and before my time were pioneers and constructed our present list of birds. Other contributors to early birding events included Tom Hilton, Kenyon Parsons, Ernie Prupis, Betty Stringfellow, Joan Cole, Peggylee Fulmer, Joan Hylander, and Betty Zimmerman. Many residents and island visitors now enjoy the island's birds found in habitats ranging from high energy beaches, salt marshes, and maritime shrub-scrub to fields and mature maritime forest. This web is dedicated to their enjoyment.
   Photos in this web come from a number of sources. Carl Helms has taken the majority with contributions by his wife Dori and their children (Robert and Lindsey) and granddaughter (Anna Kate Hein). Ed and Aijak Konrad have a major input with Ed's uncanny ability to get birds to pose and his wife's organizational skills - and their worldwide mobility (many images in Birds of the World come from their travels). Note that they retain the copyright and all rights for all of their shared contributions. A third major source comes from Kiawah Island with many images from individuals, their wildlife programs, and banding activities that both document sea island occurrences and yield images of smaller birds less often seen. The Town of Kiawah Island retains copyright and all rights to these images and to the banding data from the island. Joe Stevenot, Carl Voelker, Bob Hider, Irene Haskins, John Wells, Skip Crane, Marie Wardell, Ed Pivorun, Dominic D'Ostilio, and others have contributed one or more images adding to the collection.


   This web is a work in progress - information and images will continue to be added and your input would be appreciated.  Please share your corrections, refinements, ideas, thoughts, data, or images with Thanks.
v11.0, 1 November 2015