Conservation // 5 min Read

In the Field: Eye to the Sky

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Feb 10, 2021

Bird watching in January was fairly active compared to the unusually quiet December we experienced in 2020. Carolina chickadees, northern cardinals, and a variety of year-round species were observed this month.

Common seasonal residents included large flocks of double-crested cormorants at the lagoons, spotted sandpipers bobbing along the banks of Lake Bales, and lively yellow-rumped warblers darting through the wax myrtles.

Uncommon, but expected, visitors consisted of black-and-white warblers in River Road Preserve, American goldfinches around Moreland, and common loons spotted out on Corley’s Creek.

Lastly, and to much of our excitement, rare sightings involved a dazzling Baltimore oriole which frequented the Conservancy’s bird feeders, while an out-of-season painted bunting made an appearance around Moreland village.

January Spotted Birds
January spotted birds: Carolina Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, Double-crested Cormorant, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Goldfinch, Common Loon, Baltimore Oriole, Painted Bunting, Double-Crested Cormorant

Moving into February, we can expect activity to begin picking up with the spring migration arriving in March. Shorebirds will begin migrating in February, but many songbirds use this month to bulk up in preparation for their journey north.

American robins, cedar waxwings, and hermit thrushes may be seen eating the remaining berries from holly and cedar trees. White-eyed vireos and other resident species may begin singing to establish territories, and as we near the end of the month we should see the males of some species begin developing their breeding plumage for the nesting season.

Uncommon species to look out for this month include loggerhead shrikes prowling the open fields around Moreland and Cooper’s hawks may be more noticeable as they chase the more active songbirds.

February Birds
Birds to spot in February: American Robin, Cedar Waxwing, Hermit Thrush, Loggerhead Shrike, Cooper's Hawk, Spotted Sandpiper

For people looking to get involved in bird watching, February is the month of the Great Backyard Bird Count. This international citizen science project was initiated by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society and will run from Friday, February 12th to Monday, February 15th. Participation only requires downloading the eBird app and submitting your bird sightings during these dates.

As we move through February, you may observe some of the birds mentioned above or listed on the February checklist below. If you see or photograph something you wish to share, you can submit your sightings to Aaron Palmieri at and they may appear in next month’s update.

February Bird Checklist
Click to open a printable version.