DESIGNED FOR MUD: This tiny ball of ﬂuff was extracted from the mouth of a cat in Paradise Valley. When Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society president Merrilee Prior arrived, she noticed the Virginia rail’s eyes were open and it was mobile even though it was only two days old.
Identiﬁcation was easy because of its long black toes, which are designed for mud. The birds live in the wet marsh relying on their long legs and strong ﬂexible feet not to get stuck in the muck.
However, in this case, given its newly hatched status, the prognosis was not good. In its favour, this Virginia rail was already able to eat on its own and growing quickly. A very shy bird, it found shelter under leafy branches in its cage.
As adults, Virginia rail’s have thin bodies when viewed head-on, which allows them to move quickly through dense grasses. Viewed from the side they look strong and hefty.
This little one soon became eager to leave, very restless and obviously able to ﬂy in an outside ﬂight cage. Its departure date was moved up.
As soon as the cage door was opened back at Paradise Valley, it took off like a shot.