Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail Confirmed First US Record Sparks Photo Feeding Frenzy [Video]

A Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail is confirmed to be making its first-ever United States appearance at the popular Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Check out the video by Matt Daw where he’s innocently filming a Little Bittern — only to be shocked by the appearance of what’s currently the rarest bird in the United States.

Down below, I’ve posted a second video which features an interview with Matt Daw, the young North Carolina birder who is now recognized as the finder of the Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail.

“I dropped my camera, I was so surprised,” Daw confessed.

I’ll say. I almost dropped my camera, and I was sitting at home watching the video.

Needless to say, the news of the US record find is drawing serious birders from all over the country. Heck, I got an email last night from a Louisiana birder who wants to put together a team to share expenses to view the Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail.

It’s the first — and for all we know, the last — time that birders can get the species for their North American (United States and Canada) bird list.

The American Birding Association (ABA) has posted step-by-step instructions of where to find the bird if you plan to join the chase yourself.

In the United States, to see any rail is a real challenge.

The Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail is not a rare species in its habitat, which ranges from Mexico through Central America and down to northwest Peru. But finding it this far north may be a rare, once-in-a-lifetime event.

And apparently this individual — or this species — isn’t shy, since it seems to be hanging around for multiple appearances. I haven’t seen the Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail. But in my experience its South American relative, the Grey-Necked Wood-Rail, is quite easy to see up-close.

So I’m guessing the Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail may stick around for awhile, and it’s definitely worth the chase.

Good luck to anyone who heads out to Bosque Del Apache to seek the Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail.

[Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail background photo by Dominic Sherony via Flickr, Wikimedia][Bosque del Apache photo by Elaine Radford]