Saturday, April 26, 2014

American Coot

American Coots are abundant across most of North America and are found into northern South America. I have previously blogged on the species. Note the individually webbed toes in the coot in the second photo. Because these toes are not webbed together allies the coots to rails rather than to ducks. Ornithologists hypothesize that coots originated from gallinules and are specialized for diving.

Although I have never tasted a coot, the species is considered to be a game species. I saw a recipe for coot with strawberries and cream—the joke ends by suggesting anything tastes good with this sauce. In any case, an average of 888,000 coots have been harvested in Canada and the United States in the past 40 years. Coot populations, despite hunting and loss of wetland habitat, have increased since the 1950s. Coots readily take advantage of wetland restoration projects. In some urban areas in the winter, coots are considered to be pests, much like feral Canada Geese (Handbook of the Birds of the World—Alive).

These photos are both from our February 2014 Texas travels. The first is near Dallas, the second from South Padre Island.

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