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Celebrate National Bird Day by Going Birdwatching at Palmetto Dunes

Updated: Feb 7, 2022

National Bird Day, May 4th, is an annual holiday with half a million adherents who celebrate through birdwatching, studying birds, and other bird-related activities. No better day than National Bird Day to turn off Netflix, get off the couch, and experience all the natural beauty at Palmetto Dunes beach and lagoon. While you are out and about, you will probably come across a variety of different birds. Now you do not need to be a professional bird watcher in order to identify the birds you see because we’re here to help!

Here are some of the most common birds you may find at Palmetto Dunes during this time of year.

If you find yourself strolling or biking on the beach, it is likely you will come across a willet. A willet is a little gray bird, that has a striking black-and-white wing pattern in flight, and that typically will nest in the dunes area of the beach.

Next, we have the great blue heron, often considered to be the sovereign of the wading birds along the Southeast Coast. You can find one great blue heron down by the docks at Hilton Head Outfitters and Bike Rentals. This bird has been named ‘Stretch’ by employees at Hilton Head Outfitters and has been known to be able to get inside the bait box to steal some for himself.

Another wading bird you may spot is the great egret. The great egret is described as a patient fisherman; thus they are commonly found in wetlands, and moist fields, but they will also feed in grassy areas on insects and anoles. Besides the great blue heron, you can also find these most likely near our lagoon.

Head over to Shelter Cove Marina & Harbour to find our next bird, the brown pelican. A full-time resident of the Southeastern coast, this bird dives for fish from heights of up to 50 feet. Air sacs in the neck and shoulder area protect the bird from injury upon impact.

The Osprey can be seen year-round in the Southeast Atlantic Coast and nests throughout this area near fresh or salt water. They hover, dive, and catch fish with their talons. But the best way to observe this species is via Palmetto Dunes Property Owners Association’s nest camera. The nest camera gives you an extremely close look at Palmetto Dunes’ Osprey nest in real time, so be sure to check-in periodically in order to see what the Osprey is up to!

Last, but certainly not least, we have the roseate spoonbill. You can find these birds in our low country marshes or feeding in shallow water swinging their bills from side to side. The adult is easy to spot with its pink body with red feather highlights, colors that you certainly don’t associate with South Carolina marshes.

Even if you’re unable to leave the house, or are away from Palmetto Dunes at this time, check out our webcams and see if you can spot any of the birds from the comfort of your home. Keep an eye out during your next visit to see if you can get every bird on this list!

Happy birdwatching and happy National Bird Day!


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