By Sarah Díaz for The Island Eye News
The Sullivan’s Island Bird Banding Station (SIBBS) is continuing to operate for our Spring season. We are starting to encounter local birds in breeding condition, such as chickadees, wrens, and cardinals.
The Painted Buntings are returning to the protected land to breed. Our first Painted Bunting we recaptured this season, on April 21st, was an adult male. Amazingly, I had originally banded him on April 21, 2020 — exactly one year prior! He had traveled to Central America or the Caribbean to overwinter and returned to the exact same location to breed. Previous field studies in Georgia and Florida have shown that male Painted Buntings show strong site fidelity: In other words, they return to the exact same breeding locations each year. According to Birds of the World, it is estimated that eastern populations of Painted Buntings are declining due to a loss of shrubland habitat at their breeding grounds. Our data show that the shrubland habitat in the protected land on Sullivan’s Island provides an important breeding ground for this declining species.
If you are interested in visiting SIBBS, you can contact Sarah Díaz at firstname.lastname@example.org.