Conservation // 5 min Read

Heading South for the Winter

Written by Aaron Palmieri

Sep 28, 2020

Early October is considered the peak of fall migration for South Carolina. Songbirds start heading south at the beginning of September, and this trend will continue until late November. Most migratory songbirds travel at night, flying anywhere from 15 to 600 miles in one evening. As the sun rises, these feathered voyagers will look for large green spaces that signify locations of food and respite. It is not surprising to see a bird watcher toting their binoculars everywhere during this time as a bird seen in Bluffton today could be anywhere from Savannah, Georgia to the Bahamas by tomorrow. Fortunately for bird enthusiasts, Palmetto Bluff is an excellent location to search for migratory birds thanks to the large stands of forest throughout the property.

River Road Preserve, Sandhill Loop, and Headwaters Nature Trail are all fantastic places to bring binoculars as migratory warblers, vireos, thrushes, and more can be found foraging through these green oases. Interested in the birds that may appear during the fall migration? Here is a list of some species that you may encounter:

Fall migrants:

• Black-throated Blue Warbler

• Cape May Warbler

• Magnolia Warbler

• Northern Waterthrush

• Ovenbird

• Sandhill Crane

• Scarlet Tanager

• Solitary Sandpiper

• Veery

• Yellow Warbler

Early winter residents:

• American Robin

• American Goldfinch

• Baltimore Oriole

• Black-and-white Warbler

• Blue-headed Vireo

• Eastern Meadowlark

• Hermit Thrush

• Ruby-crowned Kinglet

• Song Sparrow

• Tree Swallow

• White-throated Sparrow

• Yellow-rumped Warbler