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Queen Butterfly photograph by Craig Chaddock, Mission Trails Regional Park


Endangered Species Spotlight: Ridgway's Rail

Friday, May 15th is Endangered Species Day, and in honor of this we are spotlighting five local endangered bird species - one per day - that San Diego Audubon is actively working to protect.

A relatively small bird, the Ridgway’s Rail is found in salt marshes along the Pacific Coast. The rail has grey and brown camouflaged feathers and long legs which help it feed on small invertebrates and fish in the intertidal zone and shallow water. A secretive bird, they can be difficult to find in their marshy homes.

Their dependence on coastal salt marshes has made this species extremely vulnerable to habitat loss, wetland conversion, and overall human disturbance, and the species has declined significantly throughout its range. A small population can still be found in the Kendall-Frost Marsh, and the ReWild Mission Bay project seeks to improve and expand this habitat to support a larger and more resilient population here.

Help This Bird: Ridgway's Rails need coastal wetlands like the Tijuana River Estuary and the Kendall-Frost Marsh in Mission Bay. Support this federal legislation that's incentivizing coastal wetland protection and restoration for its carbon storage value, and write an op/ed to your local paper in support of the ReWild Mission Bay project.

Fun Fact: Ridgway’s Rails build nests by weaving together clumps of marsh grasses that float and protect eggs when the tide rises. If you've ever seen the small wooden structures floating in the Kendall-Frost Marsh, you are looking at rail nesting platforms!

Photo by Ed Henry.


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  • City of San Diego

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