provided by Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife
Black-necked stilts are a species of shorebird who reside in marshes, estuaries, and similar environments. These birds are a common sight throughout southwest Florida between March and July when they migrate seasonally to their breeding grounds. They are also found throughout the Americas, both North, Central, and South. Since they’re a shorebird, one of their most identifiable features are their long, pink legs used to help wade through water. Interestingly enough, their legs are the longest in proportion to their body size out of any bird, with the flamingo being the only exception.
Black-necked stilts feed on small aquatic creatures such as bugs, snails, small crustaceans, and tiny fish. This helps regulate the population of these creatures and assists the balance of aquatic ecosystem food webs. Black-necked stilts make nests just barely above water in the shape of mounds. Females lay four eggs per clutch on average, and both parents contribute to protecting and sitting on the eggs. Once born, the hatchlings move around with ease and can feed themselves. The parents are protective of their babies, oftentimes working together to scare off any potential threats.
On May 18, a pair of Black-necked Stilt hatchlings were admitted to CROW. They had been orphaned after their mother was hit by a car. One of the nestlings was totally healthy, whereas the other had several lacerations over its body. The injured nestling’s wounds were treated with supportive medication. Due to their young age, the nestlings were raised at CROW. They eventually began eating on their own and were showing strong signs of growth. The siblings were at CROW for 44 days until they were released on July 1st.
Vehicle strikes are just one example of many threats endangering wildlife like Black-necked Stilts. It is important to drive carefully and be aware of wildlife who may be present in the area. Obeying traffic signs and speed limits can help protect wildlife. Another example of a threat to this species is loss of habitat. Invasive plants take up space in waters that would otherwise be left open and used by Black-necked Stilts. Their habitats are also becoming increasingly more volatile with continued pesticide and herbicide pollutants which can create imbalances in water quality and, as a result, food sources. Thankfully, for now, the population of Black-necked Stilts in southwest Florida is currently stable.
THIS WEEK AT CROW (7/1-7/8):
There were over 106 new patients admitted to CROW this week, including nine Northern Mockingbirds, six Common Grackles, two Burrowing Owls, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Northern Raccoon, a Striped Mud Turtle, three Carolina Wrens, and two Eastern Screech Owls. Recent releases include a Red-shouldered Hawk, a Northern Mockingbird, a Scarlet Snake, a Gopher Tortoise, a Florida Softshell Turtle and a Red-bellied Woodpecker. Check out a full list of CROW’s current patients and recent releases.
Wildlife doesn’t have health insurance! Your donations help cover the costs of medical and rehabilitative care for over 5,000 patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital each year. Want to learn more about wildlife rehabilitation? Stop by CROW’s Visitor Education Center at 3883 Sanibel Captiva Road.