This week’s photo, taken March 11, 2014 at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, WA, features an AMERICAN COOT.
Some of you may be thinking: “Gee, Joe, it must be a slow week for bird photography if your image of the week is an American Coot.” The coot, like Rodney Dangerfield, often gets no respect, perhaps because it’s such a common species in many regions of North America. Yet, this morning, while I am crouched at the edge of the shore of Union Bay at the Arboretum, there’s only one coot in the vicinity, and it’s the only bird of any kind that floats by for a visit.
The other water birds keep their distance from me. Even the MALLARD, a species that is normally quite tame, doesn’t approach my position. The lone coot, however, paddles right up to me.
When you examine a bird at close range, you notice details. A coot has some distinctive features, including its fiery red eyes that contrast with its solid black face and head, the reddish-brown mark on its forehead, and the marks near the tip of its mostly white bill. Almost any bird observed up close is a thing of beauty, or at the very least – interesting.