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.
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.