Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I've got "Cooties"!

Uh, I mean I've got Cootlings......or if you want to be all technically correct about it - American Coot Hatchlings.

I was shocked at lunch today when I stopped by the Greenlee Preserve, and saw tiny bits of orange moving around with a pair of Coots on the edge of a large cattail bank.

After shooting several hundred distant pictures I checked the Birds of North America Online article on Coots to find out about these little orange puff-balls. Apparently the color patterns of the bald head identify the chicks to their parents and trigger a feeding response from the adult birds. Whatever the reason for it, seeing these bright youngsters out for a swim, (which they are capable of doing 6 hours after hatching), was a pleasantly shocking surprise.

There were other birds around, like this Western Wood-Pewee, but I'm not going to pretend that there were any other stars of today's lunchtime than the young American Coot chicks.

I love that when birding you may always be surprised. Here I was, out hoping to find one of the species that I had gotten to know this weekend, and blamo, I find out that American Coot chicks are brilliantly orange. Had anyone asked me what a Coot chick looked like 10 hours ago I would have never in a million years guessed the truth. I guess that is what keeps so many of us coming back for more, over and over again.

1 comment:

  1. The chicks are sure cute and I like the color! I can see that would be a surprise.