American Coot...

Sat/March 1st, 2014 (late afternoon)
Josh, Bill and I... returned home from a grocery run. Josh headed away from the house to retrieve the mail as Bill and I approached our front door. Before we strayed far from the car I noticed a strange bird with his head poking out of our hedge. “WHOA!! What is that!?!?” Bill and I laughed. Someone had stuck a cheap country-esque rendition of a crow in our bush. Like the ones sold at craft stores, fashioned from styro bodies with feathers glued on. Such birds usually have a goofy expression, exactly like the bird in our bush. While Bill and I contemplated if the prankster was our neighbor Cyndi, or our buddy, Mary Jean... Josh arrived on the scene. Bill asked, “Josh, see anything strange or out of place?” Josh did not. We pointed to the bird and it suddenly became animated. Bill and I were shocked. The bird was ALIVE. He hopped on top of our hedges as if to say ‘Howdy do... and who are you?!’. We could see he was duck-like, but unlike any bird we had ever encountered in our neighborhood. A quick look through the bird guide book and we identified him as an American Coot... and what a hoot!

We didn't see any obvious signs of injury, but there had to be a reason this guy was separated from his flock and hanging out with us. Coots are swampland birds. No swamps here! We were concerned he might have an internal injury. We notified the Ohio Bird Sanctuary via email and waited. A few hours passed, nightfall was approaching and the weather forecast was dreadful. We were very worried. At 8pm the Coot was still on top of the hedge. Bill and I were hatching a plan to catch and cage him overnight, but decided to give him one more hour. So often it is best to give animals time to recover on their own. An hour later our American Coot had flown the coop. Further research revealed Coots migrate at night! His visit was brief, but he made quite an impact. It was a pleasure to make his acquaintance.

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Copyright © March 2014 Diana Andra/