A number of fantastic resources regarding the coastal birds of South Carolina, the festival's location, and information regarding best practices when it comes to birding while at the beach can be found below.
Deveaux Bank South Carolina Whimbrel Announcement
Discovery at Deveaux! This short film follows a team of shorebird biologists as they confirm the first census of a newly discovered Whimbrel roost in 2019. Nearly 20,000 individuals, representing half of the entire Atlantic Flyway population of this declining species use this estuarine island in South Carolina each spring!
Red Knots on Kiawah
After several days in the field, professional wildlife photographer, Pamela Cohen shares images of an amazing species of sandpiper, the Red Knot. Her Images document the "staging" or feeding on Donax clams along a critical site on a coastal Atlantic beach. The birds must nearly double their weight to endure the nonstop flight to the Arctic where it nests and continues the circle of life.
Seabird Sanctuaries in South Carolina
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources established seabird sanctuaries in 2006 to protect highly vulnerable coastal bird species such as shorebirds and seabirds. SCDNR owns and manages several seabird sanctuaries along the coast, including Crab Bank, Deveaux Bank, and Bird Key-Stono. These ephemeral islands support over 20 species of nesting water birds and many other migrating and wintering species. These places provide safe habitat for coastal birds to rest, feed, and raise their young.
Kiawah Island- Taking Wing
Showcasing the beauty and bird diversity found on Kiawah Island, with a particular focus on shorebirds and seabirds found on the beach. These species are prone to disturbance and need our protection.
Produced for the Kiawah Island Conservancy by Cindy Neal of Neal Communications.
Volunteer Shorebird Steward Training
Welcome! You are on your way to becoming a Shorebird Steward in South Carolina. Shorebird Steward volunteers are the boots on the ground that educate beachgoers about the importance of sharing the shore with our vulnerable coastal birds. They are trained and deployed at several sites along the South Carolina coast, working hard to protect nesting and resting shorebirds and seabirds.
Supporting our Nesting Shorebirds
Nesting Wilson’s Plovers and American Oystercatchers are overcoming a host of challenges to successfully incubate eggs and raise chicks. These species are both of high conservation concern, and our actions can have a significant impact on their ability to raise their offspring. Join Manomet's Abby Sterling to learn more about the secret lives of the beach nesting shorebirds that depend on our backyards, and simple steps that we can take to help them succeed.
The Sassy Seabird: Least Terns
Learn about the nesting behaviors of Least Terns in South Carolina with Nolan Schillerstrom of Audubon South Carolina. Least terns are the smallest species of terns and nest on the beach as well as on gravel rooftops. They will fearlessly defend their colony by dive bombing on threats that come too close.
Red Knot Research in the Southeast
Fletcher Smith 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!
Black Skimmers: Creatures of Edges
Janet Thibault is a wildlife/coastal bird biologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Her many responsibilities include monitoring shorebird and seabird populations on Kiawah and 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.
Kiawah resident Lisa Donovan will be signing copies of her new book Birds at the Beach and Beyond at Feather Fest on the Kiawah Town Hall Green on May 12. Written for children up to age 7--and reviewed by Festival speakers Melissa Chaplin, Aaron Given, and Janet Thibault--the book introduces little ones to 21 birds (and one surprise!) with whimsical verses and beautiful collage illustrations. The back of the book lists ways to be a friend to birds at the beach.
Rules & Guidelines
Shorebirds and seabirds view dogs as predators. As friendly as your pup may be, the mere sight of your four-legged friend can cause birds to flee their from their nests, putting eggs and hatchlings at risk of perishing from heat or predation. It just takes a few minutes of mom and dad off the nest for eggs and chicks to die in the hot summer sun. Dogs also increase bird fatalities during spring and fall migration. Because birds view humans and dogs as predators, they waste precious energy flying to escape when you approach, which means they spend less time eating and resting up for their multi-thousand-mile migration.