A Year on Clear Lake-Jan 22, 2013

What a Coot – Jan 22, 2012

There really is such a thing as a coot – and it’s not that crazy man that’s driving you nuts. The American Coot is a dark grey/blackish bird with a bright white bill. You’ve heard the saying , “If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck  – it’s a duck.” Well, coots may look like ducks, act like ducks, and even hang around with ducks, but they don’t walk like ducks, and they aren’t ducks. Though many people mistakenly believe them to be.

Check out their amazing feet (left). While ducks have webbed feet, the coots have lobed feet which not only helps with swimming but also getting across floating matted vegetation, as well as on land.

There are 11 different species of coots, and they are found world wide. The American Coots are year-round residents here on Clear Lake. They are quite versatile when it comes to getting food. They can dive to the bottom, dabble at the surface, graze on land near shore, or even steal food from other diving birds. And the oldest known American Coot lived to be 22 years, 4 months – that’s truly an old coot.

They should remind us, though, that just because something looks like a duck, we may think it walks like a duck, but t’is  best to get the facts before jumping to such conclusions.