South Carolina is a birder’s paradise, with more than 480 species having been recorded in the state. Christmas bird counts along the coast often yield some of the highest species totals on the entire East Coast. Highly sought-after birds—such as wood stork, swallow-tailed kite, purple gallinule, red-cockaded woodpecker, swainson’s warbler, painted bunting, and Bachman’s sparrow—can be found with ease during the appropriate season.
Jeff Mollenhauer, who earned an M.S. in biology from the University of Southern Mississippi, with a focus on songbird migration, has seen more than 500 bird species across America. He is the director of bird conservation at Audubon South Carolina’s Francis Beidler Forest Sanctuary.