Clapper Rail Nest

"The number of eggs deposited varies; I never found more than seven in one nest, though I have been assured that eight or nine may be laid; six or seven is the average number, however. The laying season commences (here in North Carolina, at any rate) the last week in April, and continues until the middle of June, or late, as two broods are frequently raised. I found perfectly fresh eggs June 12th, and have seen barely fledged birds in August. But the second and third weeks in May are great times for laying. Then, when the season is at its height, some idea of the countless numbers of rails in the marshes may be gained from the fact that baskets full of the eggs are gathered by the boys (and men too) and brought to the Beaufort market, where they sell for about five cents a dozen. When perfectly fresh they are very good to eat." Dr. Elliott Coues, American Naturalist. - 1869

Dr. Elliott Coues, Naturalist and Army Surgeon at Fort Macon, was assigned to the fort for 20 months beginning February of 1869. (Above information from Friends of Fort Macon)
This secretive bird is often best seen during high tides, when the bird is forced out of the thick marsh vegetation. Preferring to run, the bird rarely flies. They are opportunistic feeders, but prefer crabs and crayfish. Image from: bird-friends.com