Baby coots are noisy.
They keep on shrieking as they’re swimming around, looking for their parents, making sure they’re around, trying to keep track of where the food is.
It’s funny, because:
A) They’re RIGHT THERE
B) There’s food ALL AROUND YOU.
It’s just a good thing they’re so cute.
They were down by the possible bird feeder’s house again today, showing off their clean and shiny teenager coats and learning how to dive.
I love the way the white on their neck and breast just grows gradually grey as it moves up.
There’s a footbridge that goes from Castle Boulevard to Castle Marina retail park. Past the bridge, there’s a smaller coot nest with what looks like just one brand new baby.
I’m not going to get regular pictures of these new babies, but it’s great to see them!
I think they’re being fed by people, because when I stopped to take a photo, they quickly rushed over to say “hi”.
Sadly, I do not have food for them, so they quickly lose interest.
On the other hand, I got a great shot of one of the adults underwater and about to surface.
It’s creepy. I like it.
I didn’t go along the same route this morning, so instead, we have “hanging around the nest” afternoon coots.
Two of the babies are nearly the same size as the smaller of the adults. I’m surprised they can still hang out on the nest with how big they are. The smaller adult was swimming around them, making sure they were fed and looked after.
While the bigger adult gave me dirty looks from the canal.
C’mon, buddy, look at the thorns on that bush. Like I’m going to bother you.
There’s one woman who lives next to the canal who I’m pretty certain occasionally feeds the birds. Ducks and geese, mostly, because they’re greedy, but the other birds too.
I’m guessing this, because I think the coots have figured out where she lives now.
It’s sunny, and that means they seem really active and happy.
There are still five of them, almost as large as their parents, and still learning what’s food and what isn’t.
Look at those giant feet!
I had to take a different route to work yesterday, so I didn’t get to see the coots.
They must have missed me, because this time they were right next to the canal bank.
It looked like it was a mix of learning how to dive and learning how to eat along the canal. The parents are still feeding them, but they’re also picking up their own bits and seeing if they’re edible.
They’re getting closer and closer to the adults’ size. They apparently develop their adult coats around three to four months.
The problem with the baby coots learning how to dive for food is that all the photos of them turn into blurry disasters.
Even when they get closer to the side of the canal I’m on, they’re still moving around too much.
I managed to get one vaguely in-focus picture, and while it’s great to see them grow up, I just want to say “BE STILL.”
Today the coots were down by the overspill again, apparently learning how to dive underwater to get food.
So they go down…
Then pop back up.
Their feathers, despite looking really fluffy and soft, are really waterproof. You can see the individual water droplets sliding off them, which I didn’t expect. They always look a little bedraggled compared to their parents, but the feathers spring back up into nice fluffiness right afterwards.
One of them had something in their mouth. What’cha get, little coot?
What I really like about baby coots, aside from the name, is how they go through three stages of feather growth.
First there’s the little fluffy grey baby feathers and the scraggly orange ones on the head. Then there’s the slightly longer grey with the white bits on the breast and neck. Then there’s the sleek black and white coat the adults get.
The five babies are definitely in the middle stage now. All fluffy grey and white.
I wonder if it’s a camouflage thing. When they’re mostly in the nest, they need to look more like twigs and debris. When they’re swimming in the water, they need to look like grey clouds and dirty water. Then when they’re adults, they’re fine.
They’re also well disguised against the metal walls of the canal bank. So they have that going for them.