If you’re one of those binocular-carrying, bird list-checking travelers always looking for a new spot to spy interesting or rare avian species, you’ve got 45 Important Bird Areas in South Carolina sure to help you score your next significant sighting.
Identified by the National Audubon Society, the areas include 17 sites considered globally important for the conservation of endangered, threatened or bird populations of concern. Located across the state, from the mountains to the Piedmont to barrier islands along the coast, these Important Bird Areas span all of the major habitat types.
Below is a list of South Carolina Globally Important Bird areas that are open to the public and some of the species that can be found there:
ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge – Edisto Unit Location: 6,500 acres in Charleston County Bird species include: wood stork, bald eagle, barn owl, red-headed woodpecker, mottled duck and painted bunting
Bear Island Wildlife Management Area Location: 12,000 acres in Green Pond Bird species include: greater and lesser yellowlegs, dowitcher and common snipe, white and glossy ibis, bald eagle, wood stork
Beaufort Barrier Islands Location: Chain of six barrier islands that includes Harbor, Hunting, Fripp, Pritchards, Capers and Old Island Bird species include: red knot, willet, red-breasted merganser, Wilson’s plover, bald eagle, glossy ibis, black skimmer
Deveaux Bank Location: Small barrier island at the mouth of the North Edisto River in Charleston County Bird species include: reddish egret, rusty blackbird, sandwich tern, American oystercatcher, piping plover
Donnelley Wildlife Management Area Location: 8,000 acres in Green Pond Bird species include: Chuck-will’s widow, clapper rail, painted bunting, short-billed dowitcher, whooping crane
Francis Marion National Forest Location: 258,000 acres in Charleston and Berkeley counties Bird species include: black-throated green warbler, brown-headed nuthatch, osprey, Swainson’s warbler, Bachman’s sparrow, bald eagle
Hobcaw Barony Location: 16,000 acres in Georgetown Bird species include: red-cockaded woodpecker, red-headed woodpecker, wood stork, American oystercatcher, bald eagle, Bachman’s sparrow
Conestee Nature Preserve Location: 400 acres in Greenville Bird species include: rusty blackbird, osprey, snail kite, sandhill crane, black-crowned night heron, northern bobwhite
Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve Location: 10,400 acres in Myrtle Beach Bird species include: red-cockaded woodpecker, red-headed woodpecker, wood thrush, bald eagle, brown-headed nuthatch and prothonotary, prairie and Kentucky warblers,
Sand Hills State Forest Location: 46,800 acres in Chesterfield and Darlington counties Bird species include: red-cockaded woodpecker, American kestrel, wood thrush, loggerhead shrike and prairie, prothonotary, Kentucky and Swainson’s warblers,
Sandy Island Location: 12,000-acre island between the Waccamaw and Great Pee Dee rivers in Georgetown County Bird species include: red-cockaded woodpecker, swallow-tailed kite
Santee National Wildlife Refuge Location: 15,000 acres along Lake Marion in Clarendon County Bird species include: Henslow’s sparrow, king rail, osprey, painted bunting, peregrine falcon, wood duck, black rail