One thought on “Birds Vol 2 #2 – The Sora Rail

  1. The ortolan or sora rail feeds largely upon the small mollusks of the marsh, and at times many of these minute shells may be found in the crops of the birds. Neuropterous insects, those belonging to the order in which the dragon fly is embraced, form a good share of their food. These insects are aquatic, like the mosquito, in their earlier forms of development. This rail, like the others, also feeds to a limited extent on vegetable substances, and especially on a particular kind of seed in late summer, which I have been unable to identify. One authority, Cook, in his “Birds of Michigan,” gives reptiles as the food of the rails. This is undoubtedly incorrect, as I have yet to learn of reliable instances where rails feed on reptiles, and my readers may really see that the make-up of these birds does not admit of their tearing snakes, frogs, and turtles to pieces. The nearest that these marsh birds come to feeding on reptiles is when an occasional small tadpole is gobbled up. A captive rail of this species, which I once owned, fed greedily on hashed meat and earthworms. The bird came readily at my approach and after three days in confinement exhibited no signs of fear, and quickly learned to feed from my hand.

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