Bird's Eye View of Bute

The Coot

(1) Seconds out
(1) Seconds out
(2) Time
(2) Time
(3) Coot
(3) Coot
(4) Coot
(4) Coot
(5) Coot
(5) Coot
(6) Coot
(6) Coot
(7) Coot
(7) Coot

 

 

The Coot.

Most birds can be bad tempered but the Coot takes the biscuit. They seem to spend most of the spring fighting with its own kind, and with any other Duck or Goose or even a Swan,

 

These birds which are only 36 to 38cm are formidable fighters, and with long claws on long legs it is no wonder other species avoid them. Most of the fights are territorial, or when they are looking for a mate, and then it is no-holds-barred, having fight after fight. It is a wonder that they have time to have a family.
Every loch on Bute has many pairs and they can easily be observed, in fact when they have their young they seem to be showing off. They are funny looking little chicks, a brownish /black body with a red face, not in the least like their parents. It takes a while before you could call them coots.
They seem quiet bulky birds, yet they dive under the water in search for food. They have lobed feet as opposed to webbed ones, which give them the power they need. Before they dive they force the air out of their feathers by flattening them and leaping out of the water before plunging down.
At times they are quit tame and will swim around fishermen, sometimes taking bread out of their hands, showing no fear at all.
After fighting for a territory, a mate, or protecting their young, it must come as a relief when the summer is over and they can stop their fighting and live in harmony in the winter months. They are sometimes called the Bald Coot as that is how they look from a distance. The bald part is white feathers which both sexes have, as they are a mirror image of each other

Norrie Mulholland

First Published in the Buteman 07-09-2001


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