2022 Wildlife Sightings: Incredible Findings and Photos

Welcome to the Kiawah Island Nature Program’s 2022 wildlife sightings. Here you’ll find postings from our Naturalists and island biologists, showing you what is currently in the field, as well as an archive of observations from throughout the year. We hope this archive will get you excited about the amazing and diverse wildlife found on Kiawah Island. Share your photos and stories with us at Kiawah_Recreation@KiawahResort.com.

January 7, 2022 ~ Pump the (Alligator) Bellows

While out near the Ocean Course on a Back Island Birding tour, Naturalists Peter and Katy Beth as well as some guests were treated to a very cool, very Kiawah sight (and sound). We were lucky enough to witness an alligator bellow and heard another alligator respond! If you don’t know what we’re talking about, I recommend looking at some of the amazing videos online, but in short alligators bellow to communicate with other alligators. A bellow is a rumble from deep in the body produced by both male and female alligators. They bellow any time of year but do it most frequently in spring during mating season. Studies have found that the frequency of the bellow corresponds to the size of the alligator so they may be using their bellows to say “I’m big, don’t mess with me” to the alligator one pond over. A very cool sight!

January 4, 2022 ~ Ocean Park Butcherbird

While out doing our community science duty and volunteering for the annual Christmas Bird Count in Ocean Park, the Kiawah Island Naturalists came upon this absolutely gorgeous (but fierce!) fellow: the Loggerhead Shrike! Shrikes are sometimes called “butcherbirds” and for good reason. These little songbirds are doing their best impression of birds of prey, including having a hooked beak, but they don’t have the talons of a raptor. Instead, they’ve cleverly developed a behavior where they will spear their prey–including insects, lizards, and sometimes small mammals–on thorns or barbed wire so they can more easily tear them to tasty pieces!

Read more about the tiny but mighty Loggerhead Shrike here.

~ Naturalist Peter


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