Learning about birds in the Lowcountry lets young imaginations take flight – Charleston Post Courier


Caw Caw Interpretive Center offers morning bird walks through natural habitats. Provided.
Wild Birds Unlimited in Mount Pleasant holds fun, free and educational programs for kids and families.
Layne Madden peers into nearby trees with his son, 3-year-old Hollis Madden, during an early morning bird walk at Caw Caw Interpretive Center on Oct. 20, 2021, in Charleston. Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

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Caw Caw Interpretive Center offers morning bird walks through natural habitats. Provided.
Birds can serve as a gateway to inspire a lifelong love for the natural world in children and adults. Since the Lowcountry home to many different species, this is a great place to go birding as a family and instill an interest in these feathered friends.
Eric Sautter, manager of Wild Birds Unlimited in Mount Pleasant, explains it this way: “Birds are the most commonly seen group of large animals on the planet and their beauty changes with every species. Kids need to understand that all life is connected, including how we manage ourselves in this world. Learning about birds is a great way to start a kid’s interest in the environment which can lead to other sustainable practices, like planting South Carolina native plants, recycling, limiting waste, and eliminating pesticides to bring in more wildlife.”
The local store, owned by Mark and Danielle Motley, offers a variety of bird baths, houses and bird food and feeders that are tailored to meet the needs of birds native to the Lowcountry.
Wild Birds Unlimited in Mount Pleasant holds fun, free and educational programs for kids and families.
But Wild Birds Unlimited is not only for the birds – their monthly kid-friendly events are fun, free and educational for the whole family. On the first week of every month they offer a WBU Kids Club workshop or presentation where kids can get acquainted with local birds in a hands-on way.
Parents and kids can drop-in together to explore and maybe even create an inviting place for local birds in their own backyard. “The more birds people feed and house, it benefits the birds’ survival and brings happiness to the people who encourage them,” says Sautter.
Inspiring kids to love nature is especially important to Sautter, who discovered his own interest in birds and the natural environment as a child. “I started watching birds at a young age when visiting my grandmother in Upstate New York and saw that she fed birds,” he recalls. “After that I was hooked and have enjoyed the outdoors at an exponential rate. I consider it an environmental scavenger hunt where everywhere I go I look up and try to identify what I see. I get really excited when I see a new bird for the first time and will travel to explore new areas to do so.”
The next event at Wild Birds Unlimited is an Owl Pellet Dissection Workshop on Thursday, Aug. 4 at 11 a.m., for kids ages 5 and older, that will focus on owls and what they eat. Other upcoming events include Bird Bingo on Aug. 28, an International Vulture Awareness Day Presentation and activity on Sept. 3, and a Natural Leaf Printing Workshop on Oct. 1. For more information, visit https://mtpleasant.wbu.com/.
Places to see birds in the Lowcountry
According to Discover South Carolina, some of the top bird hotspots in the state are located in the Charleston area. Here is a list of six places to take your kids to learn more about birds and see a variety take flight in their natural habitat.
The Center for Birds of Prey: This avian conservation center in Awendaw offers weekly educational programs, demonstrations and tours. https://www.thecenterforbirdsofprey.org/
Huntington Beach State Park: Located up the coast about an hour away, between here and Myrtle Beach, this park is known as one of the best birding sites in the Southeast. A wide variety of birds can be seen year-round. https://southcarolinaparks.com/huntington-beach/birding
Layne Madden peers into nearby trees with his son, 3-year-old Hollis Madden, during an early morning bird walk at Caw Caw Interpretive Center on Oct. 20, 2021, in Charleston. Grace Beahm Alford/Staff
Caw Caw Interpretive Center: Part of the Charleston County Parks system, this low-impact wildlife preserve offers early morning bird-watching walks more than once a week. It’s a favorite habitat for swallow-tailed kites, bald eagles and other waterfowl. https://ccprc.com/53/Caw-Caw-Interpretive-Center
Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest: Although only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Beidler Forest in Harleyville (Dorchester County) is worth the visit to see the world’s largest virgin cypress-tupelo swamp forest that’s also a bird and wildlife sanctuary. https://beidler.audubon.org/
Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge: Made up of barrier islands along the South Carolina coast, this diverse and dynamic system supports over 293 bird species. Take the ferry from Garris Landing in Awendaw over to Bulls Island and explore this pristine environment either on your own or part of a tour. https://www.fws.gov/refuge/cape-romain
Audubon Swamp Garden: A visit to Middleton Plantation & Gardens includes the Audubon Swamp Garden where each year hundreds of egrets, herons, and other waterfowl nest. Walk through this wild landscape over boardwalks and bridges. https://www.magnoliaplantation.com/swamp_garden.html
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