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BirdNote: American Coots

Greg Lavaty

American Coots settle onto lakes and estuaries, forming rafts of hundreds, even thousands, of birds. They like to feed on aquatic vegetation, and sometimes they lumber ashore to nibble at grasses and agricultural crops.

The coot's lobed toes help it swim and maneuver under water. To get airborne, the coot requires a long, running takeoff. Be sure to watch the video of a coot feeding on the Chesapeake Bay.