Meet Our Shorebird Collection: Virginia Rail

There are more than 800 species on exhibit, and each one is worth a closer look. This animal is one of 10 special animals to find when you visit during construction!

Our Virginia rail is an escape artist! She comes to us from a rehabilitation facility in Wisconsin. Before she was put on the plane and sent to us she escaped from her carrier at an airport security check-point. A chase ensued, they called for backup, and she was eventually corralled back into her carrier.

Rails are generally secretive birds who live in marshes amongst the reeds. They are found throughout northeastern and western United States and into southern Canada (so, not just Virginia!).  In the winter they migrate as far south as central Mexico.

They are not picky eaters and will feed on almost any tiny animals found in their marsh habitats: worms, snails, insects, shrimp and even very small fish and frogs. They will also eat the seeds of marsh plants in the winter. They rarely fly, except during migration.  They can swim under water, but will only do this to escape predators.

Their bodies are especially adapted for moving through the dense vegetation of marshes – they have narrow bodies, long toes for stability while walking on mud and feathers on their foreheads that are tough enough to hold up to pushing through the marsh vegetation. Our bird, however, likes to hang out right in the middle of the pool or along the wall where everyone can see her.

Here's a quick video of the rail enjoying some of her favorite spots.

1 comment:

  1. I miss that bird! Definitely one of THE coolest animals in the whole Aquarium!