American Coots in Northern Utah

An American Coot running across the water American Coot running across the water

I know some people will walk or drive right past American Coots and will ignore them but I am one of the bird photographers that does not like to pass up common birds, even birds as common as coots. American Coots have interesting behaviors that I like to try to capture, for instance the way they run across the surface of the water during territorial chases. I see more of the territorial behavior during the nesting season and during the winter when the ice forms and the amount of open water decreases forcing the coots to gather in smaller areas.

American Coot at the end of its wing flapping sessionAmerican Coot at the end of its wing flapping session

I also enjoy photographing American Coots because they test my skills as a photographer due to the high contrasts of their very dark plumage and their bright white bills and red eyes. Trying not to over or under expose coots is a challenge.

Coot standing on iceCoot standing on ice

Another reason I like American Coots are their huge greenish feet. Imagine if we had to walk on feet as large as theirs? I have small feet, barely a women’s size six, but if I had feet as large as a coot’s it might be like walking around the entire day on three sets of forward facing skis on each foot. They can handle it, I can’t.

I love coots.

Life is good.



  1. Diane McPherson-Stern October 21, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    You show more birds that I have not heard of. The COOT………”as in OLD COOT” ? LOL

  2. Humming bird lover October 21, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Hi sweetie! I love coots ,too . Great Photo’s! I Have 7 or 8 size feet and only5ft. now 1 inch?? I sure lost inches from 3&1/2 inches?/ Old age! Ha ha Keep up your great and special photo’s. Love ya much mom

  3. Utahbooklover October 20, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    I have small feet too, size 6 and extra, extra wide, like many aquitac birds.
    I actually like feeling like a rare bird. I even possess some Neanderthal genes!

  4. Elephant's Child October 20, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    I NEED my big feet to stay (mostly) upright. Perhaps the coots do too.
    Lovely birds, but it is the water which has my heart today.

  5. Patty Chadwick October 20, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Tha water patterns in the second image are beautiful. Those big, green, lobed feet are great for zooming through the water…maybe even walking on it…..:-)

    • Patty Chadwick October 20, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      One of our sons-in-law has big feet like that, but I don’t think they are green. (He’s no longer willing to “Make America Hate Again”…..has finally had enough!)….

  6. Bob McPherson October 20, 2016 at 6:34 am

    Beautiful photos, Mia. Coots are very interesting.

  7. Liz Cormack October 20, 2016 at 6:12 am

    I love coots as well. They are seldom seen in the Niagara area so I relish every chance I get to photograph one.

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