The third annual Yellow Rails and Rice Festival was held on 26-30 October 2011.  The festival was shifted one week earlier so that is did not overlap with the beginning of the Youth Waterfowl Hunt. Thursday morning started off foggy, so harvesting was delayed. Meanwhile we organized groups departing to two different field sites. No less than 100 Yellow Rails were observed although field sites varied greatly in rail densities. A strong cold front moved through during the evening and into the morning - wet fields resulted in cancellation of Friday’s harvesting activities. In the first test of our weather contingency plan, we scrambled sending groups to bird locally or farther afield to the coast. With rail densities high at one site we returned to see if we could flush rails on foot from the field edge; we were successful in flushing one Yellow, much to the delight of a group there for just that one day!

Yellow Rails and Rice Festival 2011

Saturday’s weather was simply gorgeous and we were back to the fields.  With the assistance of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, we initiated bird (rail) banding at the festival, which was a huge hit and allowed participants to get up close and personal with the rails, including Yellows. After a slow start, we ended up counting at least 50 Yellow Rails.

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