If you’ve given up hope of ever seeing a Zapata Rail, this post is for you. And if (like me) you’ve never heard of the Zapata Rail before, this post is for you too. In either case, your chance to learn more about this super-secretive bird may be in the offing, as scientists recently discovered a Zapata Rail nest after more than 40 years with no sightings.

The bird, whose nest was previously recorded only by ornithologist James Bond (the namesake of Ian Fleming’s spy hero), was found late last year in a Cuban swamp. The discovery raises hopes that more can be learned about this Critically Endangered rail, and that efforts to restore it can be launched. Which makes the new U.S. detente with Cuba perhaps a mixed blessing for the birds.

(Image above from Birdlife)

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Written by Meredith Mann
The lowly Red-winged Blackbirds in suburban New York triggered Meredith Mann's interest in birds. Five years later, she's explored some of the the USA's coolest hotspots, from Plum Island in Massachusetts to the Magic Hedge in Chicago to the deserts of Fallon, Nevada. She recently migrated from the Windy City (where she proudly served as a Chicago Bird Collision Monitor, rescuing migrants from skyscrapers and sidewalks) to Philadelphia, where she plans to find new editing and writing gigs; keep up her cool-finds chronicle, Blog5B; and discover which cheesesteak really is the best. And she will accept any and all invitations to bird Cape May, NJ.