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Stilted thoughts on a Wild Monday

So what the heck is a black-necked stilt?

And can we find the answer on livingwithwildlife.extension.uiuc.edu, the site launched by the IDNR and the University of Illinois Extension to help Illinois residents (especially urban/suburban) live and deal with wildlife?

This is not a black-necked stilt, but a stilt walker at Kid’s Expo in Tinley Park this spring. They’re different animals, so to speak.

On Sunday, under a posting titled, “showing a lot of leg”, (yes, birders have a sense of wit) Kevin Richmond noted 26 black-necked stilts on IBET, the birders network.

“At least twenty-six (!) BLACK-NECKED STILTS were present (in Fulton Co.) this morning – at the portion of Emiquon Refuge that is just north of the Spoon River and just west of Route 78/97. You have to walk north along the levee for about ten minutes to see the birds.”

I’m a middlin’ birder, but I didn’t know what a black-necked stilt was, though the name gave me some ideas.

No, I couldn’t find the answer on the new state web site, but I was wonderfully sidetracked into looking at photos of tracks and scat. It’s a neat site for finding out about illinois animals, the stilt question is probably out of its range.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology had its usual fine listing for the large shore bird. Go to

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Black-necked_Stilt.html

Here’s the short description: “A striking black-and-white bird with very long, thin red legs, the Black-necked Stilt is found along the edges of shallow water in open country.”

There’s a good photo at http://sdakotabirds.com/species/photos/black_necked_stilt.jpg

So there.

If interested in trying to see them, here’s info for Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge near Havanna: The USFWS listing is at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/IllinoisRiver/emq.html. More detailed info is on Go-Illinois.net at http://www.go-illinois.net/Emiquon-National-Wildlife-Refuge.