The premier birding locale in the area is the fabulous Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge  (U.S. 278 East just before Hilton Head, 912/652-4415, www.fws.gov ). You can see bald eagles, ibis, wood storks, painted buntings, and many more species. Birding is best in spring and fall. The refuge has several freshwater ponds that serve as wading bird rookeries. During migratory season, so many beautiful birds abound here making such a ruckus that you’ll think you wandered onto an Animal Planet shoot.
Another good bird-watching locale is Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve (803/734-3886, daily dawn–dusk, free), an 1100-acre pine-and-palmetto habitat. Get here from Hilton Head  by taking U.S. 278 off the island. Take a right onto Sawmill Creek Road heading north. The parking area is shortly ahead on your right. Note that there are no facilities available here.