Nonbreeding Sora in the Centennial Valley of Montana

/, Birds, Centennial Valley, Montana, Soras/Nonbreeding Sora in the Centennial Valley of Montana

Sora foraging in a farm pondSora foraging in a farm pond – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Last year I had the pleasure of photographing this nonbreeding Sora in the Centennial Valley of Montana. I normally hear Soras before I spot them but in this case the Sora was out in the open when I spotted it foraging next to some cattails in a farm pond.

Adult Sora in MontanaAdult Sora in Montana – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/4000, ISO 500, -1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Soras are from the family of birds which includes coots, rails, gallinules, limpkins and cranes and while the larger species are easy to see the rails and soras are not. They can be found in marshes, the edges of ponds, lakes and in shallow wetlands with emergent vegetation and because of their cryptic plumage patterns they blend into their habitat very well.

To say I was pleased with seeing this Sora out in the open feeding on aquatic vegetation might be an understatement. I was very excited to see and photograph it because I have very few images of this skulking species.

Nonbreeding Sora in the Centennial ValleyNonbreeding Sora in the Centennial Valley – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, -1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I hear Soras quite often during the breeding season at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and Farmington Bay WMA but I have only gotten very briefs views of them.  I am including a long sound track of a Sora calling “per-wheep” and “whiny”. There are other sounds of frogs and birds in the track too. Although I love hearing the per-wheep it is the whinny that I love to hear the most.

Life is good. Life is better with birds.



  1. Humming bird lover March 15, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Hi! I have never seen or heard of this bird? Thanks for sharing this beautiful bird! love ya honey mom

  2. Elephant's Child March 13, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Such a beautiful bird – and the plumage patterns could have been etched in neon lights.

  3. April Olson March 13, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Beautiful. and it was wonderful to have the sound while viewing the photos.

  4. Patty Chadwick March 13, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Great catch! Any capture of one of these elusive birds is a real coup!

  5. Cindy March 13, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Transported Mia. Love, love, love.

  6. Liz Cormack March 13, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Oh, wow! What beautiful colouring in the feathers. And such sharp images.

  7. Bob Bushell March 13, 2016 at 7:00 am

    What a lovely bird.

  8. Bob mcpherson March 13, 2016 at 6:39 am

    Beautiful images Mia.

  9. Nancy Collins March 13, 2016 at 6:08 am

    Wonderful Mia! The detail is exquisite!

  10. Linda March 13, 2016 at 5:55 am

    I’ve been following your blog for some time, not only admiring your photos, but also studying your camera settings. It’s been of such help to me. Now, I have a new 70-300mm lens, and I’ve found such pleasure in being able to capture some decent images of birds in our surrounding refuges. Many thanks for the effort you put into this.

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