Thursday, March 21, 2013

coot: flashing fancy feet

One last photo, we think (the royal or Victorian "we"), from this past winter sent to me by Jason Dykes.

Don't you just love the toes on an American Coot? The cute coot tootsies. 

Jason took the photo at the Alcoa Duck Pond on December 2 the day after my "Duck, Duck, Goose!" program at the nature center. Coots are not ducks, although they swim like ducks, they have big feet but they are not webbed, they are lobed.

As the Cornell Lab or Ornithology website states, "Instead, each one of the coot’s long toes [indeed, each digit] has broad lobes of skin that help it kick through the water. The broad lobes fold back each time the bird lifts its foot, so it doesn’t impede walking on dry land, though it supports the bird’s weight on mucky ground."

It's like having retractable webbed feet.  Very practical.

The next time someone says, "Oh, you have such coot feet." Take it as a compliment.

Click photo to get a closer look


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