Virginia Rail

Hey guys welcome back. Today a little marsh bird, the Virginia rail. Virginia rails are small, plump birds of the marsh. Similar to the clapper rail but smaller and more brightly colored, Virginia rails are also much more widespread, being found in every one of the lower 48 states. They can be quite difficult to see due to their fondness for walking around in the weeds of marshes.

Virginia rail in Central Park’s Ravine in 2017. Central Park, NYC

Virginia rails are uniquely adapted for their environment, as are all rails. They have a high ratio of leg muscles to flight muscles, have strong feathers on their forehead to help push marsh weeds out of the way, and have a laterally flattened body. One cool thing they do is build a number of fake nests in addition to the one they lay their eggs in.

Virginia Rail. Mentor Marsh, Mentor, OH

I remember the first one I saw. It showed up in Central Park one November. It was difficult to find, but I finally got a look at it. My friend and then partner in crime Marieke and I found it skulking around in the Ravine. I wouldn’t see another until moving back to Ohio. Here, I’ve seen a number of them, and have found some spots in a nearby marsh where they nest and are present throughout much of the year. Next up is a bird I saw in Central Park that should’ve been on the opposite coast! See you then!

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