Black Rail is not a Minnesota bird. It is rarely seen even within its limited range East and Gulf coast range, being secretive, heard more often than seen. It would be a sensation if found here.

A recent birding column (StarTrib, Variety, Home and Garden, Wednesdays) was about a Black Rail that might have been seen in November in Nebraska. (Emphasis is on the word might.) There was a photo of a Black Rail, a species never seen in Minnesota. It was a wooden rail carved by a friend of mine, Chet Meyers of Minneapolis. It's an excellent likeness. He told me that he once took the carving with him on a local birder outing. He left the group for a moment to set the dummy bird at the edge of some marsh grass. Then, returning to his companions, he pointed at the carving, and said, "Look …..

That caused a lot of short-lived excitement.