American Coot Chicks

It didn’t take Leslie and I long to realize that one of the best places to find baby birds was in the reeds that line the Bear River refuge. While scanning the edge of the reeds I saw this bird that I didn’t recognize.

Coot1

In fact, I saw quite a few of these birds. Several of them hunkered down on a huge pile of reeds on the back side of the auto tour. If I had actually seen this shot full size instead of the camera viewfinder, I would have immediately recognized it as a juvenile American Coot because of the feet on the youngster on the left.

CootFt

I’ll never forget my shock when I first saw an American Coot out of the water after photographing them in the water for years.

Since I didn’t see the feet, though, I had to figure out what it was through a much longer process. I recognized this chick immediately as an American Coot,

Coot2

since I’ve photographed them several times in the past. My first thought when I saw one was that they were so ugly that only a mother could love them. Now I’ve come to believe that they’re so ugly that they’re actually quite cute.

Nearby I saw an American Coot feeding this slightly older chick.

Coot3

Still later, I got a shot of a parent feeding an even larger, older, I assume, juvenile.

Coot4

By then it was quite clear that American Coots are born over a long period of time. A little internet research revealed that American Coots can even have more than one brood per year.

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