An Unusual Visitor



What the heck is this!  For the most part our garden, here in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, is overrun by common sparrows and purple finches and we get excited if anything other than a robin or grackle puts in an appearance so you can image how amazed I was when, looking through the window yesterday morning, I spotted this specimen creeping about under the cranberry viburnum, near where the sump pump empties out into the garden.


It seemed to be attracted to the water and mud that accumulates there, which is probably not surprising as, judging by the size of its feet, I’m guessing that it’s some kind of marsh bird.  It looks like a youngster and is very cautious but it had obviously gone considerably off course.


I wonder, can it fly?  I’m extremely concerned for its safety since there is a local cat that is always prowling around.  I’m not sure what else would pose a threat to it. The other birds don’t seem too bothered by it.

I’m hoping that someone with a knowledge of birds can identify it for me.  I took a look in my bird book and the nearest thing I can come up with is a Sora but I wouldn’t want to put money on it.  I was loath to leave it but I had to go down to the grocery store and by the time I got back I could no longer spot it.  If it appears again I’ll try to get some sharper pictures.  Unfortunately, taking shots through the window and my shaky camera control don’t make for the clearest images.






6 thoughts on “An Unusual Visitor

  1. Hope you figure out the mystery or at the very least that the little guy has returned to it’s home with the help of mom or dad. We have nothing like that up here in Washington.

    • The more I compare my picture to the one in the bird book, the more sure I am that this was a sora which is some kind of rail, but it would be nice to have someone confirm it. It put in a brief appearance when I got back from the shops but not out in the open enough for me to get another shot. There’s no sign of it today so I just hope it’s somewhere safe.

    • Thanks, Scilla! It was just lucky that I happened to look out of the window when I did. It stayed very well hidden for most of the day and only broke cover for a few minutes. At least it was something a little different from the usual cast of characters out there even if it didn’t stay around for long.

  2. It looks like a sora to me, a little off course since they are usually found in marshes, but having easy access to food may make up for the lack of water. They are quite common, but seldom seen, you hear them more often than see them.

    • Thank you! I knew you’d be the person to ask! Unfortunately I didn’t hear anything when I went outside (before I realized it was there) other than me screaming when two robins, that are nesting in the neighbor’s shrubbery, almost flew into me (my life-long fear of birds being well-documented.) Thanks again for your prompt reply!

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