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Baby Coot

Baby Coot
Photo Information
Copyright: Manyee Desandies (manyee) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-07-03
Categories: Birds
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Baby Animals 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-03-18 13:38
Viewed: 12721
Points: 10
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This incredible looking baby bird is a young American coot. It was swimming amongst the lily pads in this pond, hiding between the leaves, but poking its head out once in a while. I wonder how its bright coloring and looks help it survive in the mostly green environment of the lily pads.

American Coots are migratory birds native to the Nearctic region. During the summer, these birds are found centered around the freshwater lakes and ponds of the northern United States and southern Canada. During the winter they head to the southern portion of the United States from California to Florida.

American Coots are about 38 cm long and, during the winter, will weigh up to almost 900 g. They have a wingspan of 58 to 71 cm. Their feathers are dark grey, with a white patch under the tail. The bill is also white, with a red swelling along the upper edge. The males and females look alike. The lobed toes make the coot a powerful swimmer, especially in open water. Though able to fly, the coot has short rounded wings which make it difficult to take off. Once in the air, the coot can fly as well as any other bird.

American Coots are social birds that live in groups called flocks. They are the only members of the rail family to live in groups. They are most active during the day. They are migratory, and migrate as a flock. Their migration, though, is based on the weather and therefore highly irregular.

American Coots can make a wide variety of noises, from grunting to clucking, as a means of communication, between each other and to threatening predators. There are two times a coot will splash: during mating season to attract attention and to discourage predators. American Coots also use their good sense of vision to communicate.

Males and females work together to build a nest that is about 35 cm across. These nests are located at the edge of the reed cover of a pond. All nests have a ramp that leads into the water so the young have easier access when coming and going from the nest. Females lay 8-10 eggs at a time. The eggs are a pink color with brown spots.

Both the male and female incubate the eggs, which means the parents take turns keeping the eggs warm until they hatch. The eggs hatch about 23 days after the female lays them. The young look like the adults, except they are lighter in color. Both parents share the job of feeding and teaching their young, dividing the number of chicks between them. After one month, the young can dive underwater for their own food. They can fly 5 to 6 weeks after hatching and are fully independent after about 2 months.


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To JPlumb: Thank you : )manyee 1 12-20 01:37
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Critiques [Translate]

Nice shot! You've captured this Coot chick nicely. The chicks really do look bizarre don't they? Not sure why they're as brightly coloured as they are - one theory is that it's a competition thing, each brood contains a lot of chicks, and the one with the brightest colouration attracts the parents eye. Not sure why the predator pressure isn't a significant factor though - perhaps their main ancestral predator operates at night?

Technically I feel it could be a little bit sharper, but it's not a major issue. Well captured :-D

Welcome to TrekNature!

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2005-03-19 5:03]

Hi Manyee, welcome to TN. This is a good first posting. I like Adrian's notes to read. Yes, the little bird is weird, isn't he? You have captured him very well. Well done.

  • Great 
  • Luc Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 301 N: 4287] (14767)
  • [2005-03-20 10:35]

A good first performance, Manyee.
Nice composition and point of view.

I wish you the most cordial welcome on TN.
In the pleasure to admire your next posts and to read your notes and critics.
Thank you for sharing.

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2005-03-22 0:07]

I like it ! Colors are vivid. Great capture.


Hi Manyee, this really is the ugly duckling in this shot. This was an excellent start to an amazing portfolio. I just had a look through this,(yup all 32 pages at this point). You are one very talented lady. Your shots are all very well done and always supported by great notes.

Thanks, John

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