Bird-Friendly Communities

Bird Banding on Sullivan's Island

Sullivan's Island Environmental Education and Bird Research Program
Bird-Friendly Communities

Bird Banding on Sullivan's Island

Sullivan's Island Environmental Education and Bird Research Program

Get regular updates and photos on our special banding Facebook page!

Mission Statement:

Conserving avian species through scientific research and fostering future stewards of the environment by engaging students in life-changing nature-based experiences.

Project Context:

Eastern forests provide critical breeding, migratory and wintering habitat for a large number of resident species as well as for an impressive 75% of neo-tropical migratory birds.  In the last 50 years, the human population in the Atlantic Flyway has increased by 76%, concurrently, many forest dependent birds have been declining in large numbers.  Much attention has been directed toward identifying breeding habitat, but migratory hot-spots are equally vital to the life cycle of migrating species.  This project directly addresses this need.

Problem :

Migrating birds fly thousands of miles from their breeding habitat to reach wintering grounds. Finding high quality stopover spots along their migration route is vital to their success, as birds must gain significant fat stores, (some increase weight> 50%). Unfortunately, bird mortality rates are higher among coastal migrants than inland migrants due to the fact there is a lower percentage of high quality stop-over habitat along the coast.  We hypothesize that the maritime forest and established shrub land habitats on Sullivan’s Island are ideal stopover habitats given the dense vegetation, high quality food source and a safe haven from predators.

Action Plan:

• Audubon will set up mist nets during fall and spring migration season in maritime forest, fordune and shrubby habitats.

• Captured birds will be banded, weighed, measured, and additional data will be recorded prior to their release.

• Point counts will determine presence of additional species.

• Educational field trips will be offered to local and other interested schools to learn about habitat conservation (project site is protected through Town ownership and Lowcountry Open Land Trust easement)

•Community events will be planned to encourage the participation of local residents, families, school groups, college classes, conservation partners and bird enthusiasts. Qualified volunteers will help participate in point counts and leading bird walks. It is of utmost importance that the local residents understand and appreciate the Bird Banding Program’s research methodology and long-term goals.

Here are some birds we've encountered and processed at the station that are on the climate 314 list:

  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Hermit Thrush
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Palm Warbler
  • Black and white Warbler
  • American Redstart
  • Black-throated Blue Warbler
  • Cape May Warbler
  • Louisianna Waterthrush
  • Ovenbird
  • Tree Swallow (in the THOUSANDS)

Time line:

Fall Season 2016: September 1st to November 10th

Education Program

Our education program engages school children and the greater public by offering interactive activities such as bird walks, school fieldtrips, and in-school demonstrations. The Education Program visited Sullivan’s Island Elementary School this November. Please email us to request more information.