Hanging with the coots

I’ve seen plenty of American Coots in a number of watery locations, but Clear Lake is the only place I can seem to get anywhere near them. There always seems to be something comical to me about these small birds; maybe it’s just that I’ve come to associate them with the expression “a funny old coot” — what my Merriam-Webster dictionary describes as “a harmless simple person.”

Coots are actually pretty interesting birds. About the size of a chicken, they swim like ducks and feed like ducks, but their feet are not webbed like ducks, and they walk more easily on land than ducks, who must waddle about. They are widespread and adaptable, often laying their eggs in nests built by other birds.