American Coot / Fulica americana
The American Coot is today’s Bird of the Day.
Despite the interminable plague I have been managing to chip away at my Ontario year list. I didn’t see any Coots during the spring migration as they don’t normally visit urban gardens. However yesterday we found about 22 in Elevator Bay so that’s one more tick on the checklist.
Yesterday was dank and grey and didn’t look very promising, but we managed to find quite a few good species including a couple of late warblers and vireos, the scarce Lincoln’s Sparrow, and the even scarcer Vesper Sparrow. I ended up with three new year birds and my companion, who is a recent convert to the cult, reckons he got somewhere close to 20 life birds. So the moral of the story is – when in doubt, just go out!
The American Coot hangs around with ducks and looks vaguely duckish, but along with crakes, gallinules and moorhens it is a member of the rail family Rallidae. The migratory population of Coots breed in ponds and marshes across North America, and migrate to the southern States, Central America and the Caribbean for the winter.
This image shows a bird in Colombia at a nice sewage lagoon where they are year-round residents. Given a choice I might like to live in Colombia as well, though perhaps not in a sewage lagoon.
IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern.
Malecón de Cameguadua, Caldas District, Colombia, March 2019.
Bird of the Day #4 – American White Pelican
Originally posted to Facebook on 12 April 2020.
The pelican is a traditional symbol for Jesus Christ because it was believed that the pelican pierced its own breast to feed nestlings with its blood. Dante called Christ “nostro pelicano”.
So this American White Pelican seems like a good Easter choice for the Covid-morale-enhancing Bird of the Day.
In Ontario their stronghold is in the Lake of the Woods/Rainy River district, but there is a small and possibly growing population at the west end of Lake Erie.
Image captured near Kearney Nebraska, April 2017.