Backyard Birding

Shipyard is home to many magnificent animals from reptiles to birds and everything in between! We have many bird enthusiasts. Here are a few birds you may see while walking, bike, or living within Shipyard.

 

Piping Plover – We are so lucky to have these small, endangered shorebirds return every year to winter on Hilton Head Island. One reason Piping Plovers became endangered was that prior to 1913, their down was used as embellishments for the larger feathers that were used in making fancy hats. Piping Plovers remain endangered now as a result of loss of habitat as they nest on beaches and are threatened by people and animals encroaching on their breeding areas. You will find these birds from October until March at Fish Haul Creek Park. They are the smallest of all the shorebirds and can be truly called “snowbirds.”

The Red-headed Woodpecker is one of only four North American woodpeckers known to store food and then covers the stored food with wood or bark. They are fierce defenders of their territory and may remove the eggs of other species from nests or enter the nest and puncture the eggs.  As well as insects, they love to eat acorns, corn, beechnuts and a variety of fruit.

Loggerhead Shrikes are considered to be a songbird, but with a raptor’s hunting methods. It is sometimes referred to as the “Masked Bandit” with its prominent black eyeline.  Usually the Shrike can be found perching on poles or fence posts and then dramatically swoop down to pick up their catch.

Brown Pelican is a comically elegant bird with an oversized bill, sinuous neck, and big, dark body. They glide above the surf along southern and western coasts, rising and falling in a graceful echo of the waves. Pelicans feed by plunge-diving from high up, using the force of impact to stun small fish before scooping them up.

Red-tailed Hawks are one of our most common hawks on Hilton Head Island. They can frequently be found in your backyard on the hunt for small rodents, birds, and larger insects.  It is easy to recognize this hawk by the “red” strip of feathers located on its shoulders.  When this hawk flies, both wings become mostly red. If it flies overhead, you can get the full effect of those beautiful red wings.

With their vivid fusion of blue, green, yellow, and red, male Painted Buntings seem to have flown straight out of a child’s coloring book. Females and immatures are a distinctive bright green with a pale eye-ring. They’re more likely to visit a bird feeder in a yard with low, dense vegetation.

Great Egret is a dazzling sight in many a North American wetland.
They hunt in classic heron fashion, standing immobile or wading through wetlands to capture fish with a deadly jab of their yellow bill. Visit a pond or coastal marsh and look for an all-white bird with black legs and a yellow bill.

Boat-tailed Grackles are common around Coastal areas. These blackbirds are supreme omnivores, who feed on everything from seeds and human food scraps to crustaceans scavenged from the shoreline.  Males are a beautiful glossy black all over and their eye color ranges from dull brown along the western Gulf Coast to bright yellow along the Atlantic.