Photographing An American Coot’s Post Bathing Behavior

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American Coot splashing during a bathAmerican Coot splashing during a bath – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

A few days ago I observed and photographed an American Coot bathing at the local pond while there was some decent light, the weather has been cruddy here again lately with plenty of fog, heavy clouds and spotty rain showers so when there is good light I take advantage of it whenever I can.

This image shows the coot while it was bathing in the clear, cold water of the pond.

American Coot fluffing its wings after bathingAmerican Coot fluffing its wings after bathing – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Although I enjoyed photographing the coot while it bathed I relished the post bath behavior more because of all of the wing-flapping and shaking that occurred during the moments of time before the coot settled back down on the water. I have noticed that some of the coots give a quick shake then settle back down quickly after a bath while others seem to prolong shaking off the water longer.

American Coot shaking its wings after taking a bathAmerican Coot shaking its wings after taking a bath – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

This coot seemed to prolong the shaking off after bathing behavior as it flapped its wings and shook its body. It raised its body and wings high a few times while shaking off…

American Coot with its wings spread after bathingAmerican Coot with its wings spread after bathing – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Settled its body down on the water and completely spread its wings out…

American Coot post bathAmerican Coot post bath – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Before raising its body up to shake vigorously again. I had several great poses to pick from in my series of this coot’s behavior after taking its bath.

American Coot with one wing raised after taking a bathAmerican Coot with one wing raised after taking a bath – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Most of the poses I photographed showed bilateral wing movement and some symmetry of those movements but not long before the coot settled back down onto the water it raised just one wing. I don’t know why it only raised the one wing but I thought it was an interesting photo.

Perhaps I am easy to please but I got a real kick out of photographing this American Coot while it bathed, shook and fluffed on the pond close to home.

Life is good.

Mia

7 Comments

  1. Elephants Child January 10, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Add me to the easily pleased (and grateful) list.

  2. Marty K January 10, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Superb series! I keep getting drawn back to your third shot. Delightful! 🙂

  3. Laura Culley January 10, 2018 at 8:21 am

    Beautiful images! I love watching birds bathe. Maybe I’m weird (I CAN make a case for that!), but I find it fascinating. Raptors get a Zen-like look on their face that I thoroughly enjoy. As for the one-wing pose, all I can say is that bird behavior is oftentimes curious (to us). They tend to keep a lot of their cultural behaviors under their wing, so to speak! 🙂

  4. Patty Chadwick one of my favorite birds January 10, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Sorry about doubles…my evil iPad iscat it agsin….

  5. Patty Chadwick one of my favorite birds January 10, 2018 at 7:58 am

    And I never thought to say a coot was pretty, but ths wings on the this one are very pretty….love the colorscand patterns in the water, too.

  6. Patty Chadwick one of my favorite birds January 10, 2018 at 7:58 am

    And I never thought to say a coot was pretty, but ths wings on the this one are very pretty….love the colorscand patterns in the water, too.

  7. Liz Cormack January 10, 2018 at 6:59 am

    Wow, I never realized how long American Coot wings are until I saw the last photo in your wonderful series.

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