Soras are a type of marsh bird that I rarely see because they are usually tucked away deep in the vegetation, obscured by tall stems and leafy plumes. But this morning, a couple of Soras ventured out into the open water on the edges of the Mississippi marshes to forage, seemingly oblivious of the much larger ducks and geese around them.
Soras typically grab insects or seeds from the top of the water, occasionally probe into soft mud, walking quickly through the water and vegetation. The adventurous Soras I watched this morning walked right up to and around resting ducks, paying no attention to their greater bulk, as they searched for hidden food items.
During the breeding season, we often hear the high-pitched descending notes of the Sora’s whinny call, but rarely seen them. They are busy producing a lot of little Soras in a nest that might hold as many as 18 eggs, stacked in rows on top of each other. Since the Soras start incubating before all the eggs have been laid, they hatch asynchronously, and the first youngsters to hatch jump out of the nest join one of the parents while the other parent continues to incubate.
Rumble.com produced an excellent video of Sora and Virginia Rails in their native habitat: