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A coot blends in almost perfectly with the black and grey paint marking the waterline of a boat moored alongside a canal in Amsterdam.

I expected to see many more waterbirds in the canals than I did. I think the reason is that the canals are deep and there are hardly any places in the city where it’s easy for the birds to wade in and out of the water.

Out in the countryside, I saw a number of geese and ducks–as well as many more coots–living alongside the canals. Most had large broods of goslings or ducklings–or cooties?–that had recently hatched. It was fun to see the babies waddling and swimming behind their parents.

But in the city, I saw only solitary birds along the canals…except for the gulls. Gulls seem to manage to live just about everywhere. They are the pigeons of the waterbird species, adaptable to a diet ranging from fish to garbage and everything in between.

I’m fascinated by birds that can adapt to living alongside humans in cities. And that brings us back to coots, who are very tolerant of the presence of humans in their aquatic universe. And humans leave the coots alone as well. I hear that coots taste terrible, unlike their duck and goose cousins. So they’ll probably live safely among humans for many more years…


One Comment

  1. Thanks for the video link, Kitty. 🙂

    I saw a number of coots incubating their eggs when I was in The Netherlands last April. I spotted several nests in the canals around Lisse, as well as in Kinderdijk.

    It was probably too early in the year for the chicks to have hatched, because I didn’t see any coot babies. Just lots of ducklings and goslings.

    So it was fun to see what the chicks look like, with their funny spiky red punk “hairdos.” 😉

    Thanks for sharing,
    RPRT Photo

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