Sora, Porzana carolina, ready to be prepped in the bird lab
Sora study skin after being prepped and accessioned into the collection
Soras are secretive yet fairly common birds in the rail family. They live most of their lives in the dense vegetation of freshwater or brackish marshes, and are usually thought to be reluctant flyers. However, in the spring and fall they take to the wing, some individuals migrating up to hundreds of miles. During these times they are often found after colliding with various built objects such as communication towers, wires, and buildings– just like the one we found in the loading dock!
Swainson's Hawk, Buteo swainsoni, surveying the land
(note this is not the individual documented for our bird list)
As with Soras, Swainson's Hawks aren't very visible in the urban core of Los Angeles. However, they can easily be seen migrating along the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains during their fall and spring migrations. The individual Kimball spotted over the Museum was on its way south to its overwintering site. Although we don't know where this individual will stop, we do know it will be somewhere between western Mexico and Argentina.
Thanks to Kimball for providing natural history information and pictures of the birds and also to Michael Wilson and Jerome Brown for finding the dead Sora!