SE Colorado Birding

Birding and discussion: A conservation-oriented birding blog that emphasizes low-impact birding and sustainable birding practices together with the enjoyment of birds. Southeast Colorado offers a diversity of habitats which provide premiere birding opportunities. Save Sabal Palm

Sunday, August 12, 2007

More fun with rails (Virginia and Sora)

So I returned again this morning in hopes of getting some better pics of the hatchlings. The parents were not as vocal this morning as they had been during my prior visits when they would give frequent contact and alarm calls. The parents were also less active and I was beginning to wonder if I would even see them. However my patience was well rewarded as I saw at least 2 adult and at least 2 hatchling Virginia Rails (see later post re: Soras).The hatchlings are larger than when I first saw them on August 1. As can be seen in these pics, they still have their black fuzzy natal down. The fuzziness is quite visible in the lower pic as are the blackish legs that are characteristic of hatchlings. The top pic clearly shows that this hatchling still has a black iris, a characteristic of Virginia Rails until their third week when they turn dark olive according to Birds of North America (BNA) online. BNA also says that juvenal plumage begins around 2-2.5 weeks old and if it has started it isn't obvious yet. Given this and my first sighting of them, I feel reasonable comfortable aging these hatchlings as around 2 weeks old especially More on them in the next post.

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