Aggressive American Coot – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Yesterday I had fun photographing a few American Coots and their behaviors at a pond close to where I live in Salt Lake County.
There are quite a few reasons why I enjoy seeing, observing and photographing American Coots, to start with I love the challenge of photographing them because of the high contrast between their dark plumage, ivory white bills and cherry red eyes but that isn’t the only reason.
American Coot patrolling a pond – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
While observing American Coots I can see that they are feisty, pugnacious and aggressive in their behaviors and they don’t seem to take any guff from each other. Usually I can see when there might be an altercation between coots because of the behaviors they exhibit, for instance when I notice a coot exhibiting patrolling behavior I will often aim my lens at them because there could possibly be a chase or fight soon afterwards.
This coot was patrolling on a pond near home yesterday where there was another coot that this bird was trailing after, I’d hoped they might chase each other and I was ready for the action. The chase didn’t happen but it easily could have.
American Coot exhibiting patrolling behavior – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 500, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Sometimes American Coots can have such a comical look to their faces but there are times when they are acting territorial that the look on their faces appears to be deadly serious. The look on the face of this American Coot would make me back off from it. It almost looks like it is ready to mug someone.
You just never know when the action and interactions between these birds might occur which is part of the reason why I photograph them just about any chance I get.
American Coot swimming with head low to the water – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 500,-0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
When there is a coot chase or fight the action can be fast and furious and by watching their early aggressive behaviors I can get ready for that action if it occurs. They can fight over food, territory or for a mate. Sometimes I believe they fight just because they can.
American Coot on patrol – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 500,-0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
When American Coots are feeding, resting or preening they don’t appear to be capable of the aggression that I often see in this species but as anyone who has spent practically any amount of time with these birds can tell you, they most certainly are.
These birds keep me on my toes when I am photographing them. What’s not to enjoy about that?
Life is good.