Someone asked on Twitter if this was the year of the sora because the seem to be EVERYWHERE.
This is a sora that was very cooperative at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. I took this before I left for Horicon. I was walking by the Bass Ponds and I could hear several soras when I noticed this bird out and about in the open, not skulking among the vegetation like most soras do.
Horicon Marsh was loaded with them too. I didn't get any photos of the little water chicken, but I heard them every stop I made that had any sore of marsh. Right now I'm in Utah for the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival. When I arrived, I went straight from the airport for some birding at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and it was sora city there as well. I don't remember hearing so many soras all the time--I'll take it. Must mean they found some great breeding habitat and great places to over winter the last few years.
They eat vegetation and invertebrates. This bird was too fast for me to capture it, but I watched it down a few small snails including shell. I wondered if this was a female, snail shells provide calcium for egg laying.
Those these birds are timid, the curve of the beak always gives them a contented look.
Keep your eyes and ears open for these mysterious little water chickens.