While standing on extremely long, thin, pink legs and sporting an elongated delicate-looking bill, this month’s bird appears to be the epitome of elegance and refinement.
This month’s Bird of the Month is the aptly-named Black-necked Stilt.
“Delicate”… “Elegant”… “Refined”…that is, while they’re undisturbed. But, when disturbed near their feeding or nesting ground, other words come to mind to describe the Black-necked Stilt. “Excitable”… “Noisy”… “Confrontational”…are more descriptive of this bird when it perceives a threat of some type. Intruders (including birdwatchers) are likely to be “dive-bombed” and scolded persistently while in the Black-necked Stilt’s territory. It feigns attack with its loud, sharp and grating…”yek-yek-yek-yek”…alarm while circling overhead!
There aren’t many Black-necked Stilts in Indiana, but from what I’ve read and observed, they seem to be making inroads in the Hoosier State. I’ve seen a few of them while visiting Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area down near Linton, Indiana and I’ve noticed that, on IN-BIRD, Black-necked Stilts have been regularly reported at this great FWA. And even though considered rare here in Indiana, these distinctive birds are easily identifiable when seen, with their sharp and contrasting black and white color pattern.
While flying, the legs of the Black-necked Stilt trail “far” behind, because of the extreme length of their legs. As a matter-of-fact, stilts have the second-longest leg length in proportion to their body size than any other bird, exceeded only by flamingos.
WHAT A WONDERFUL BIRD!
Douglas “Birdman” Gray has been birding almost all of his life. He grew up on a family farm near Clarksville, Tennessee, where they grew crops ranging from apricots to wheat, and most things in between. They also raised chickens, guineas, pigs, horses, and a cow named…….Apples. Doug’s grandfather identified the birds they would see daily on the farm.
Doug now resides in Indianapolis and works in Parenteral Engineering with Eli Lilly and Company. Most of his current birding takes place in Indiana, with a concentration on Central Indiana, where he leads bird walks for “Backyard Birds”. Doug can be reached at 317-255-7333.