Virginia Rail Family at Cranberry Marsh in Whitby, Ontario

A pair of Virginia Rails has four chicks at Cranberry Marsh in Whitby, on the north shore of Lake Ontario east of Toronto. Usually described as secretive, this family of Virginia Rails is easily seen in the open at the marsh, which has low water levels due to an earlier breach in the barrier beach. 24 June 2018.


Virginia Rail chicks are precocial, leaving the nest 3 to 4 days after hatching. They learn to feed themselves between 3 and 7 days, after which they are capable of feeding independently. All four young rails were very independent, feeding themselves and running about. Parents were close by but did not seem to supervise them. Cranberry Marsh on 24 June 2018.


I was amazed when the two adult Virginia Rails copulated, even though they still have four young in the vicinity. Virginia Rails are known to double brood. If this is successful, eggs will be laid in 19-20 days, around 13-14 July. Cranberry Marsh on 24 June 2018.


Reference: Virginia Rail Account in The Birds of North America Online