National Geographic : 1960 Aug
and rolled the eggs to one side (page 240). Then, as her mate hustled the material to her, she began to build up the level of the nest's other half. In contrast to the original nest construc tion of fine grass and small stems, big muddy leaves now were crammed in, with just enough twigs inserted to bind the wet mass together and make the structure strong. Thus the cleared portion was raised about an inch higher than the part containing the eggs. The mother stilt now hopped atop the ele vated half of the nest. With her bill she reached down and behind each of the eggs in turn, and with incredible deftness rolled them up beside her (pages 242-3). That done, she started building up the lower half. The male stilt, running with unbelievably long strides, brought in the building material from the perimeter of the circle first. Grad ually the size of his working circle diminished. Then, when the area left extended only about Daddy longlegs spears a muddy leaf to bulwark the nest. To save time, he tosses it over his shoulder to within reaching dis tance of his mate, then grabs another. Impatiently awaiting material, mother leans out to seize a twig with her tweezer like bill (below). Crisis over, she resumes incubating (opposite).