The Secretive Soras

provided by CROW

Southwest Florida has a wide array of habitats from coastal beaches to swamplands. With the diverse habitats also comes diverse wildlife that inhabits those areas. When it comes to birds, many may be familiar with pelicans, eagles and a bevy of small songbirds that inhabit their backyards, but there is also more secretive birds that reside in marsh habitats.

These birds belong to a family called rails. They have long toes that help them walk along dense vegetation while hunting the water for small invertebrates, seeds, and insects. The most widespread and abundant of these birds is called a sora, although you wouldn’t know it because of they spend their time hidden among the wetlands.

These birds have brown and gray feathers with a bright, yellow beak as adults while the color is a bit subdued in juvenile or immature birds. They have been described to walk like “a chicken that has had too much coffee” because of their quick movements and nervous tail flicking.

Two of these robin-sized birds were recently admitted to CROW’s wildlife hospital just a few days apart, both having suffered an unknown trauma. The first arrived from Fort Myers beach on October 3 after it was found laying on its back with crows pecking at it.

“It was unable to fly and we found that it had a coracoid fracture, which is part of the shoulder girdle,” explained Dr. Melanie Peel, a veterinary intern at CROW. “At this point, it still needs more time for the injury to heal. We plan to do a flight test in another week or so to assess if it will be ready for release.”

The second sora arrived from Fort Myers on October 6. It was noted to have been found standing in a driveway with two drops of blood underneath it.

“We did not find any fractures or major injuries when we examined the bird,” says Dr. Peel. “It’s likely the bird had soft tissue injuries as a result of being stunned, such as from hitting a car or window, that was preventing it from flying.”

After a week of supportive care and plenty of crickets, mealworms and a special insectivore diet, the sora was feeling much better. On October 14, it passed a flight test and was able to be released later that day.

THIS WEEK AT CROW (10/7-10/13):
There were 89 new patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital including 14 eastern gray squirrels, four laughing gulls, seven Virginia opossums, three double-crested cormorants, an eastern screech owl, a green heron, and a pied-billed grebe. Recent Releases include a sooty tern, a black-racer, a great blue heron and a reddish egret. 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.

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