April and May are critical months to protect our shorebirds on North Beach. Red Knots (federally threatened) are arriving to rest and feed on their long journey to the Arctic to breed. By end of April, there could be 5000 knots here! Piping Plovers (federally endangered or threatened depending on breeding area) are still wintering here, but in larger numbers, as they move through SC from southern beaches to prepare for the flight north to breed. This week we spotted 24 Piping Plovers, normally we see 3 to 5! American Oystercatchers (including our resident banded U5 and its mate), Wilson’s Plovers, Least Terns, and Willets will soon begin their mating, and possibly nesting here.
Red Knots and Piping Plovers feed on North Beach shore anywhere from the protected habitat, to along the designated dogs of the lead area, to past Boardwalk 1. Both can be on the lagoon shore, and knots can be on sandbars. American Oystercatcher, Willet, Wilson’s Plover, and Least Tern can be along North Beach and the lagoon shores. Wilson’s Plover and Least Tern may court on the beach around the SCDNR winter habitat/nesting area signs.
(1) Give the birds space: Resting and feeding are critical to the survival of migratory and wintering birds. If birds run or fly, you are too close!
(2) Keep out of posted areas and dunes: Birds can be nesting, and disturbance causes egg and chick loss.
(3) Be a Bird-Friendly Dog Owner: Keep dogs on a leash when near bird flocks. Don’t allow dogs to chase on the beach and sandbars. This stresses the birds and saps their energy for migration. Please follow Seabrook’s dog rules.
Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) has collaborated with the SC DNR, USFWS, Town of Seabrook, and SIPOA to develop the attached brochure, “Respect Seabrook Island Shorebirds and Habitat” In it you’ll find what we all can do to protect our shorebirds, the Seabrook Island beach dog rules, and some interesting information on our two key protected birds, the Red Knot and Piping Plover.
You can download the brochure by clicking here, or pick up a hard copy at the Lake House, the Amenity office, the SIPOA office lobby or the Town of Seabrook Island office lobby.
– Submitted by Ed & Aija Konrad, Seabrook Island Birders