Friday, October 5, 2007

A Tale of Two Coots

A little family of American Coots (aka Mudhens) at Huntington Central Park.

This spring and summer I met two coot mothers and their chicks at Huntington Central Park West. One hung out the end of Lake Huntington near Alice's Breakfast in the Park. She had two young chicks. One noticeably older than the other. They seemed to nest in a burrow in the bank of the lake. They would swim and walk on the bank. I have not read about American Coots nesting in burrows, but this family seemed to do just that.

Above is a video that I took of the coot family near Alice's. The bonding between family members is evident.

Here they are entering their burrow. They actually do fit inside.

On the other side of the lake was another family. The mother had three chicks. They were on the side of the lake near the equestrian center. They were older than the chicks on the other side of the lake and would feed in the grass with their mother.

Foraging on the dirt.

Obviously, the feet grow in first.

A month later: "Wait up, Mom!"

This chick is following after the mother. She was still supplementing the chick's independent foraging by feeding it tidbits she found. The older chick followed a little further away raising a ruckus over being left behind.

Nothing like a mother's love. She is feeding it here, but they did seem very affectionate. This mother and her chick often stayed close to each other and leaned against each other. Spring is a great time to bird watch and see the babies and their parents. I don't often think of American Coots as affectionate or maternal, but these birds seemed to be. It was very touching watching these two families grow up. Even as I enjoy the fall migration, I look forward to the spring.

OC Birder Girl Links

American Coot

See my post on the American Coot, also know as the Mudhen.

Central Park in Huntington Beach

See my post on Huntington Central Park in Huntington Beach. It is a great place to go birding in Orange County, California.

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