Thursday, March 9, 2017

A Bird That Doesn't Get Much Respect: The American Coot

Here's a bird that doesn't get very much respect: the American Coot (Fulica Americana). After all, what is that we call an eccentric or crotchety person, especially an old man? I was mildly shocked to go down my list of blog posts to find that I've never done one about the coots. Still, they are versatile birds that do very well in aquatic environments. I see them often when we tour our local refuges, but maybe because they are common, I find I've taken few pictures of them. I did take a few, though, when we stopped in at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge during our holiday travels. They have very interesting red eyes.

The coots are not ducks, but are instead more closely related to Sandhill Cranes and rails. They don't have webbed feet, for one thing, and aren't the most graceful of flyers. They consume vast amounts of vegetation, but are also opportunists who will eat bugs and crustaceans at times. They are common in any bodies of water from Central America all the way to Canada.

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