|Male Black-necked Stilt on a nest of in the grasses|
|Female Black-necked Stilt sleeping on a nest|
|Nesting Female Black-necked Stilt|
To start it off, I'm presenting the Black-necked Stilt. These elegant, tall, dark and white birds are quite striking when you see them. They somehow support their slightly chunky bodies on the thinnest, tallest pink legs! I'm not quite sure what came first - the name of the bird or the name of the walking poles, but you really can't forget the name of this bird once you've seen one.
|Female Black-necked Stilt gives a great look at her 4 eggs|
|Look at how those legs bend!|
|Male Black-necked Stilt incubating eggs|
We first saw these nesting Black-necked Stilts at Green Cay Wetlands in Palm Beach County, Florida in mid-May, 2010. One fantastic thing about birds at Green Cay is how close they let people get to them. These stilts nested only feet from the boardwalk and allowed great, intimate views of their nest, and yes, their eggs! Here you can see both a male and female incubating - the male having the completely black back and the female having a brown back. These stilts built clumpy nests on tufts of grass or dead vegetation on the mud, laying about 4 light brown, dark-speckled eggs.
|How many chicks can you spot?!|
|More legs than body =)|
When we went back about 2 weeks later, there were babies! The Black-necked Stilt chicks are some of the cutest little babies you will ever see. They are mostly tan speckled with black on top and white underneath. Their coloration served perfectly as camouflage in the wetland as they ran across the muddy marsh with dried vegetation all around. And even as little ones, they already have very long legs, which are yellow first, in proportion to their little bodies. You can see they start off with big feet!
|Mommy and 2 babies|
|Two adorable Black-necked Stilt chicks|
But beware if you are a bird or any other animal getting too close to the Stilt babies. The parents will swoop and practically attack you in defense of their chicks. Here you can see how one adult was not at all pleased with this Tri-colored heron near his babies. He swooped and swooped for minutes while loudly sounding off an alarm call.
|Black-necked Stilt Defending his little ones|
|Family Photo - Mom and Dad and the 3 kids|
What a pleasure it was to witness the nesting of the Black-necked Stilt as well as the chicks. We saw how even these long-legged birds can collapse and bend their legs to gracefully sit on a nest and incubate their precious eggs. And the babies were very independent and running right alongside and behind mommy and daddy foraging in their footsteps. Ahhhh... They're almost too cute for words!
|Just me and my shadow|
|He's got big shoes to fill!|