Regardless of provenance, which likely cannot be definitively determined
(late rails may still be moving), it is worth pointing out that by ABA
recording rules the Virginia Rail, seen by many in the Central Park Ravine
yesterday and reported again today, is a countable bird. The only rule at
issue is

RULE 3: The bird must have been alive, wild, and unrestrained when

Of this, the "unrestrained" element comes into question. The ABA clarifies:

"A bird is considered under the influence of captivity after its release
until it regains the activities and movements of a bird that has not been

The Virginia Rail is moving about and foraging as one would expect a wild
bird to do, and it has already moved some distance out of the Loch, which
is generally the release point used by the WBF. So, a countable bird.

Of course, we all have different reasons for birding along with different
standards for what we choose to "count." Many do not "count" at all, and
just want to enjoy observing birds.

But the issue of "does it count?" arises from time-to-time in Central Park,
largely owing to the activities of the WBF, and for those who follow the
ABA standards the above analysis is worth keeping in mind.

Good birding,

David Barrett

On Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 8:54 AM, Tom Fiore <> wrote:

> Regarding Virginia Rails seen recently in Central Park (Manhattan, N.Y.
> City), it has been confirmed (& witnessed) for two individuals of that
> species seen released (from rehab., by the Wild Bird Fund of Manhattan) on
> Tuesday, 21 November, and additionally, one earlier individual of that
> species may have also been released into the same area of Central Park (the
> Loch, a.k.a. "the Ravine") in the week prior, making for a possible total
> of 3 Virginia Rails released from the same rehab. center in the past ten
> days or less.  These released birds are virtually certain to be the
> source[s] of all current reports & sightings of the same species at the
> same location or viciinty, in recent days.    It is also perhaps a good
> thought to check in with these rehabbers on the occasion of any uncommon
> sightings in Central Park that might seem slightly unusual for habitat,
> date, & etc., as there have been various other migrant (as well as
> local-resident) birds placed there after a rehab.-recovery has taken place,
> in recent years.
> good - and ethical - observing to all,
> Tom Fiore
> manhattan
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