Last Updated on January 15, 2022 by Guillermina
Calling all the fine birding folks of the Palmetto State. Our newest edition of the birding series cover birds native to South Carolina!
South Carolina is the proud proprietor of tourist attractions like Charleston’s Historic District, Myrtle Beach, and Middleton Place. But apart from lush gardens, golf courses, beaches, and historic locations, it also hosts a tremendous assortment of birds all year round. When at their prime, birds native to South Carolina are truly a sight for sore eyes.
If you’re wondering what you’re missing out on as a birder in the Palmetto State – scroll down and discover more.
5 Of the Most Popular Birds Of South Carolina
Of course, we couldn’t possibly cover all the avifauna species South Carolina is home to. Instead, we bring you a list that may not have too many candidates – but covers all the relevant details of each species. Ready?
1. Downy Woodpecker
A downy woodpecker is the smallest member of the woodpecker family in North America, measuring only up to seventeen centimeters. Being one of the most common birds in South Carolina, it is no stranger to local backyards.
Its call is a high-pitched cry that may be familiar to the residents of the region. You can tell apart the male and female by the red nape, which only the males possess. This species finds sunflower seeds and peanuts irresistible and often swoops into bird feeders harboring their favorite treats.
However, its natural habitat is in open woodlands and beside streams. For nesting, the mated pair burrows a hole into a dead tree that has been softened with fungus. The fungus also helps camouflage the entrance from unwanted visitors. Once the hole is large and deep enough, the female lays a clutch of three to eight eggs inside.
2. Carolina Wren
The state bird of South Carolina fits well in southern regions as it cannot stand cold weather. Their stature may be small, at less than six inches, but as opposed to the rule for little children, they are often heard and not seen.
They hide in brush piles when foraging for food as their diet consists of worms and spiders. Their voices are very loud and shrill for their size, and the males are seen to sing a great deal, whereas the females do not.
Mated pairs may choose to bond for life or split up after several years. Both partners participate in nest-building, which can be found in natural spots as well as locations such as windows and letterboxes.
3. Carolina Chickadee (A proud South Carolina Native)
A list of birds of South Carolina cannot be complete without mentioning the winged creature that borrows its name from this state. In appearance, they are very similar to black-capped chickadees and often interbreed with them.
The resulting chicks produce calls inherited from either parent or sing a tune that combines both. Similar to Carolina Wrens, mated chickadees can stay together for years.
These birds tend to stick to their flock for the duration of the season, but some have been known to be less faithful and move over to join other flocks in the middle of the season. A Carolina Chickadee doesn’t need to remain in the new group. While some stay, others may habitually jump from one flock to another.
4. Eastern Bluebird
These breathtaking critters are a beloved friend of farmers, as hosting them leads to a drop in the insect population. This species is mainly insectivorous and does not typically harm the crops that it hunts in.
It has an excellent eye for its prey and can sight its wormy game from fifty yards away. But with good looks comes a catch; people trying to offer them homes will find that they are rather high-maintenance. For starters, they make very fussy and territorial homebuyers. \
Eastern Bluebirds are uncomfortable in dense forests and do not like the exposure of clear, open spaces. What they prefer is a combination of both, a smattering of trees to provide shade and perches for babies rearing for flight, as well as grass and shrubs to hide in from strangers and prey.
They are also vulnerable to pesticides, so they can’t live in areas where generous amounts have been used for pest control. This picky nature has led them to become victims of the much more laidback house sparrow. House sparrows are not among birds native to South Carolina or even America. They are among the biggest threats to bluebird survival because they mercilessly kill the adults and break the eggs before building their own nest, despite being undemanding about where to roost.
Bluebirds native to South Carolina are non-migratory. They have been observed to demonstrate aggression during the breeding season, which can lead to fatal battles. A pair of bluebirds usually stays together for a breeding season and sometimes for longer.
The male helps gather material for the nest, but the female does the construction while he stands guard. They raise several broods a year with fledglings from the first brood, sometimes being old enough to help the parents feed the younger siblings.
5. Tufted Titmouse
These songbirds have echoing trills and chubby bodies. Appearance-wise, it’s tricky to tell the male and female apart. A tufted titmouse gets its name from the tiny tuft on top of its head.
They enjoy visiting backyard feeders and are good friends with other small birds like chickadees. Titmice also relish acorns and seeds, which they hold in their claws and peck to open with their beaks. They are also clever little hoarders that hide their snacks to eat later.
It can be an interesting sight when a titmouse exploits the goldmine that is a bird feeder and carries away its treasure, one seed at a time to store in a safe place. They are even prudent enough to remove the shell before popping the meat in the hideout.
Similar to woodpeckers, titmice make homes in tree cavities. However, their bills are no match for a woodpecker’s sharp stabbing beak. This is why they rely on tree holes formed naturally or vacated by woodpeckers.
They also decorate the nest by lining it with fur stolen from animals and even human hair. They are very active in the daytime but not much at night or in the winter. Although they don’t migrate, they remain inside their nests until the cold has passed.
Bird identification in South Carolina can be rather tricky as there is such a wide variety of species. However, thanks to modern technology, apps, and websites help can help you identify the avifauna in your backyard. Plus, you always have our handy guide to fall back to in case you’re hoping to attract some of the birds mentioned here. We’ll see you next time, in another bird-tastic feature about birdies native to other locales. Till then, take care and don’t forget to comment.
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