Coots Can Be Cute


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.


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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8 Responses to Coots Can Be Cute

  1. Chris VB says:

    Coot babies are pretty cute…..

  2. charlagabert says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who calls coots cute….It’s irresistible, isn’t it?

  3. Mary T says:

    Coots are cool. Even with all the other birds in our treatment pond down here in San Carlos, Sonora, the Coot always draws my eye.

  4. Connie Saunders says:

    Thanks, Joe, for increasing my appreciation of coots. It does have a cute face. I’ll look at them through binoculars when they arrive after the lakes thaw. Happy Spring — eventually.

    Connie Saunders Minneapolis

  5. Marlene Prendergast says:

    I think you are kind of pushing it for a coot!

  6. Jody Gebhardt says:

    I love coots. They play. I have watched them in Grand Canyon riding the small rapids, flying back up stream, and riding again.

    We had our first Spotted Towhee in the back yard this week.

  7. Lynda Kuebler says:

    Hi Joe, we have so many Coots around the property of Estrella del Mar that I was interested in your stories about them. Lynda

    Sent from my iPad

  8. says:

    Hello Joe,

    You are right. The red eyes are very stunning on this bird. I wonder if the color of his eyes  serves any purpose or is it just to look cool?

    Oregon Scrub Jay Jill 

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