My apologies if anyone gets notice of this post twice. I picked the wrong post to schedule, after this had already posted, and now can’t undo it. 🙃
We often refer to Common Gallinules as the early warning system. Any bird in the area who didn’t know we are coming does after what All About Birds describes as
“all sorts of chickenlike clucks, whinnies, cackles, squawks, and yelps. They often call while hidden from view, leaving you wondering what lurks in the marsh. The rapid series of clucks sounds vaguely raptorlike, but the series often ends with what sounds like a laugh.”
The clatter is often accompanied by or followed by them running across the water. The whole business is quite startling for all concerned.
This young bird appeared to be trying out his vocal skills, but I never heard a peep.
Mom just paddled along, saving the water running for another lesson.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, SC
July 29, 2022
I hear Common Gallinules more often than see them. Per All About Birds they “make all sorts of chicken-like clucks, whinnies, cackles, squawks, and yelps.” Needless to say, many a birder has jumped when that racket starts, often accompanied by one or more Gallinules running across the water to safety. I often refer to them as the early warning system for other ducks and wildlife I might have been hoping to see.
These images were taken on different days, but in the same area. The stump in the image above is newly sticking out of the water as the rice field pond has been drained for repairs.
The red bill in the image below looks almost like fake plastic, but that is how they look. Bald Eagles will stalk Gallinules in this pond and I wonder how that beacon of red appears to them.