The resident year-round population of four or five American Coots exploded this week as more than two dozen migrants flew in. Their number one agenda item at the moment I saw them was preening.
Like almost every bird species I’ve seen, each bird preened itself, and no bird preened another. This means that each bird’s head and the back of its neck go unpreened during the bird’s lifetime. Some birds engage in energetic head dipping that may be a substitute for preening these areas.
Coots here are active feeders on the seaweed and algae along the rocks and on the bits of protein buried in the mud. They are good divers. I’ve seen them preyed upon by American Wigeons, which are not good divers but are good thieves; they’ll muscle in on diving Coots and steal their greenery when they surface. But the wigeons aren’t here yet.
For a complete roundup of Coot coverage on this blog, all 25 items, click here.