Rails are seldom seen but often heard. This medium-sized rail lives in marshes across much of our continent. Commonly nesting in the northern United States and southern Canada in a variety of marshy situations, mostly fresh, but also brackish marsh near the coasts. During migration to Mexico and the southern coast of the United States it is sometimes found in odd spots, even city streets, such as Travis Country!
The Virginia Rail is approximately 7 inches long from the end of its tail to the tip of its bill and feeds mostly on insects, crayfish, snails; & some seeds. It also feeds on a wide variety of aquatic insects and their larvae, especially beetles, flies, dragonflies, many others and eats crayfish, earthworms, snails, slugs, and a few small fish. Seeds may be important in its diet at times.
It was apparent that this individual was no able to fly for some reason, although it was walking around naturally. Because of its inability to fly we were concerned it could not protect itself or find enough to eat. So we caught it with a net and took it to Blue Valley, releasing it in the reeds at the west end of the pond where there is both cover for its security from preditors and a wide range of food to sustain it. Maybe it will be a permanent resident.
Here are a few photos of the Virginia Rail, some are mine and some were taken by Tamara Cash.