Twenty Audubon volunteers came out in force to clean up trash on Crab Bank, one of South Carolina's protected Seabird Sanctuaries. Located in the mouth of Shem Creek, the island is home to several coastal bird species including Brown Pelican, Royal Tern, Black Skimmer, and American Oystercatchers. Many of these species rely on protected islands due to fragile and declining populations. Sanctuaries provide protection during nesting season from common terrestrial predators, but perhaps more importantly they provide a safe place from us. Humans and dogs can unintentionally harm nesting beach birds and their young. As perceived predators, humans and dogs provoke a dangerous natural behavior from nesting beach birds. If we accidentally get too close to a camouflaged nest or colony, bird parents will attempt to lure us away, leaving their eggs and chicks vulnerable to the hot summer sun. That same SC summer heat that we all love (and some hate) can cause young birds and eggs to perish in only a few minutes.
Keeping these nesting islands clean is also important for the survival of many species that make South Carolina so unique and beautiful. Sanctuary islands are critical for many species' survival and keeping them clean is a dirty but necessary job. Thank you to everyone who attended the Crab Bank Kayak Tour and Beach Sweep! Many shorebirds, seabirds, and marine life will benefit from the work volunteers did on Sunday Oct. 16. We filled up an entire garbage bin past the brim plus some! On top of that, their donations in the form of purchased tickets go straight back in to the environment to help Audubon South Carolina conserve more land, protect more birds, and reach more families with our environmental education.
We owe a huge thank you to Kathie Livingston and Nature Adventures Outfitters for providing kayaks for free on one of their busiest days of the week, and to Wild Birds Unlimited in Mt. Pleasant for providing 5 lb. bags of bird seed as a giveaway to those who volunteered!
Keep an eye out for more events like this one. We love working with our amazing volunteers!
*This clean up was conducted in cooperation with laws enforced by SCDNR.