Atypicals (3)

American Coot (Fulica americana)

In recent years I’ve seen a small population of American Coots — maybe five or six — all year round. Occasionally they would host what looked like a family reunion, with many dozens crowding together, beak to feather. But this past winter I’ve seen only one. I wrote about it in December (“Coot Story” December 17 2020). It had lots of company in March, see “Coot Cuddle” March 20 2021. But the guests departed and now the coot population in the North Basin seems reduced again to this single individual. What kind of feelings arise in a bird when it’s the only one of its species? We know from behavior that bird emotions run high in the breeding season. I don’t know how to read bird feelings the rest of the year. Do birds feel lonely? I’m guessing not, since so many birds live solitary lives in non-breeding times (for example, herons). But is that the same with birds who are normally sociable, like coots? So many questions. so few answers.

More about American Coots: Wikipedia Cornell Audubon In Chavez Park

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