Protect Our Shorebirds

As you head out to the beach this spring, you will notice some new temporary signs posted by the Town of Seabrook Island. The signs remind residents and visitors that it is Red Knot season and that it is a violation of town ordinance to harm, harass or disturb any shorebird which is designated as threatened or endangered.

In a recent letter, Janet Thibault, Wildlife Biologist, SCDNR Coastal Bird Program noted that shorebird migration peaks in the spring. Large flocks of Red Knots, up to 4,000 birds, are on the beaches at Seabrook Island, Kiawah Island, and the Captain Sams inlet area. Red Knots are a federally threatened shorebird and are stopping over on South Carolina beaches as they migrate north to their nesting grounds above the Arctic Circle. The Red Knots will be on beaches now until the end of May. It is important to allow these birds to rest and feed before they make their long-distance journey. Research shows that this time of year is crucial for their survival and even success in nesting this summer.

Red Knots are feeding on small clams in the intertidal zone of the beach as the tide exposes the wet sand. Foraging flocks may be distributed along extensive sections of the beach as they feed and fly to the next foraging spot.

SCDNR is working with the Beach Steward Programs at Kiawah and Seabrook Islands to help ensure birds can rest and feed while they are in the Captain Sams inlet area until they depart for the breeding grounds.

Please remember to avoid disturbing feeding and resting flocks.
Walk around the birds and do not cause them to fly.

-Submitted by the Town of Seabrook Island

(Photo credit: TOSI & SCDNR)