Black-Necked Stilt

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Black-necked Stilt in flight against blue sky (Sandra Calderbank, sandra calderbank)Black-necked Stilt standing in water with one foot up (Sandra Calderbank, sandra calderbank)Black-Necked  Stilt sitting on ground on nest in grass (Sandra Calderbank, sandra calderbank)The Black-Necked Stilt is a strikingly beautiful black and white bird with unusually long bright pink legs and crimson colored eyes. These birds are waders with very long slender bills. Their habitat is typically mud flats, shallow pools and grassy marshes. They summer in the southern most United States and winter south of the United States. I photographed these Black-Necked Stilts at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida in April. They make their nests on the ground lined with sticks, rocks and grasses. The eggs are incubated by both parents, the male sits on the nest during the day and the female sits on the nest at night! I wonder why she gets the night shift?
Having seen Black-Necked Stilts chasing away a hawk that got too close to the nest, I can vouch for their courage as protective parents.

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