Crazy Old Coots

Coot Not the old leering guy on the corner, but the swimming bird related to rails. Looks like a duck, but not a duck. It has really big, lobed feet that almost look like floatation devices. The American Coot is one strange bird.


I wonder where the colloquial expression, old coot came from. I do remember my dad saying this when I was a kid. I don’t know how old one needs to be for being an old coot, but I bet I thought them much younger than what I think now. Funny how that happens.

Coot-Feet It is rather derogatory to the bird and kinda undeserving to share a moniker with that cantankerous, pesky old guy. Maybe they aren’t as flashy as the Long-tailed Duck of last post, but they are rather comical as they waddle around on those crazy looking feet. If “old coot” was a contemporary term it just might apply to people who complain constantly. Those that snip and grouse, where they kick up a fuss, raise a stink, bellyache, moan, chide, lecture, berate, or snivel too.  See my post, OMG –  Get a Life Complainers, on GWGT.


I feel a bit sad that the term old coot has anything to do with these entertaining birds. I can picture a group of old coot duck hunters complaining about the numbers of them though, getting in the way of shooting the more prized duck. I guess not being a duck saves them in duck season.

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18 Responses to Crazy Old Coots

  1. Debra says:

    Coots are a lot of fun to watch. They are pretty tame — at least the ones that live near here seem to be. The water there looks so cold! brrrr

  2. My first experience with coots was while living in Fountain Hills, AZ…the area had more coots than ducks. And I hate to say it, but they kinda creeped me out, especially their feet. Ick.
    BTW-google fountain hills, you’ll be surprised to see the huge fountain/lake (man made of course) alongside those gorgeous Saguaro cacti. I always called it “Fake Lake”!!!!

  3. bittster says:

    I think they’re cute, even if they do look a little out of place amongst all the ice! Funny how I only ever notice them down South.

  4. aussiebirder says:

    Very interesting feet the coot has Donna, otherwise not much different to the Eurasian Coot we get here. I don’t think I have ever seen one out of water to actually look at its feet. All of my many shots have them swimming. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I had never seen these before. Very cool!

  6. Adorable and quite informative. Great feet! If I am ever called an old coot, I will smile knowingly! Thanks, Donna.

  7. Using the imagery of words, now I know what I look like.

  8. Crazy old coots, look so lovely!!! 🙂
    Happy weekend, Donna!

  9. My Heartsong says:

    The fourth photo looks like they are skating. I sometimes dismiss them because I see so many in one pond but a few minutes later find myself watching them for long periods because of their behaviour. they are entertaining whether finding a spot in the weeds to take a bath, or displaying for breeding or getting in vicious fights.

  10. “American Coot” is a rather humorous-sounding name. I say that not intending any disrespect. They do have very odd feet, though. Maybe they should get together with the Loons and protest the insulting misuse of their names.

  11. I had seen these before and wasn’t quite sure what they were since they resembled a duck but had the unusual beak and feet. They are very unusual and interesting to look at.

  12. What a fun bird to watch…love their feet….

  13. Girl Gone Expat says:

    Had never heard the term old coot before so had to google it:) I learn something new every day! 🙂 When I was a kid anyone who was 30+ was an old coot to me, not so anymore – so agree that changes over time:)

  14. Phil Lanoue says:

    Well you gotta love the coots! Those feet are hysterical. 😃

  15. Pat says:

    Wonderful captures.

  16. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen these birds before. I had to look up their range and they are in my area in winter. I’ll have to see if I can spot some on Lake Lanier. Looks like they are migratory in your area but your photos show them with some ice in the water. So are they in your area now? I love their feet.

  17. Seems funny to see these Coots in your cold water up there. We’ve had them down here for a few months – they are quite plentiful. I agree, they are fun to watch 😉

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