Monday, October 7, 2013

Life Through The Lens - Black-necked Stilt

Few shorebirds are as striking as the Black-necked Stilt.  With a body straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, striking pink legs, and a sharp black-and-white tuxedo, this Stilt is sure to impress even the most seasoned naturalist.  Black-necked Stilts are right at home wading through shallow pools and marshes across the country, though they are more widespread in the West.

Stilt at Cane Ridge WMA in Indiana

I have been fortunate to see this incredible bird on two occasions this year - once in Indiana (I had three flybys on a trip to Cane Ridge with my grandpa) and more recently at Pea Island NWR in North Carolina.  There I could actually see the bird - observe it feeding, wading, and just hangin' around.  I'm quickly becoming an obsessive "state lister", and Black-necked Stilt was a pleasant addition, especially considering that Stilts are rare in late September.  

Pea Island stilt from a few weeks ago

These long-legged birds never cease to amaze me.  Every time I see one I am reminded of the beautiful complexity of nature and it's stunning diversity.  Birds currently lay in the crosshairs of ecological degradation, and these charismatic stilts can help people recognize the true value of our spectacular avifauna.

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