A Sora Stops Off

The sora is a secretive water bird that often spends its time in tall vegetation in freshwater marshes and wetlands. This individual was first spotted at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo in the middle of March, about two weeks earlier than wildlife biologists saw one in 2011. The warmer winter this year could be a potential reason why this member of the Rallidae family was spotted sooner than expected.

This bird species is easily identified by its grey breast and yellow beak that darkens at the tip. While you may get lucky and see one darting in between the plants at the edge of the pond, these birds are more often noticed by their call, which is a slow ker-whee that ends on a higher note than it begins.

Wildlife biologists will even play recorded sora calls in marshes, their preferred habitat, because this often causes soras in the area to investigate who or what is making the sound! This field method is known as call broadcasting and is used on numerous bird species in the wild.

As we get further into spring, we’re seeing a wide variety of migratory birds stop off at Nature Boardwalk. Most of these birds are more active in the morning, so come by early to see what you can see!

Mason Fidino


What an cool looking beak! You have to look really close to see it.

I saw one of these walking around in the open on the grass at Promontory Point. It was a very surprising thing to see in a Chicago park.

Thanks for sharing, Doug!

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