What in the world of ol’ coots is happening here?

May 7, 2018 Joel Jorgensen

A little over a week ago I was out birding (something I tend to do in my free time).  I was out in the Rainwater Basin in Butler County and I was going to swing by a wetland that is bisected by a county road.  As I approached, there were several American Coots walking on the road, which is not unusual.  Most of the coots skedaddled back to the water as I got closer, except for one.   One coot seemed to be tethered down and even though it appeared to try to flee, it was stuck.   I got right up next to the bird and I quickly noticed it appeared to be stuck in a hole.   Below are a couple of photos showing what I observed.

So what was going here?   Clearly something had a hold of the coot and wasn’t letting go, but what?   I had a couple of ideas, but the answer wasn’t readily apparent to me so I described the situation and showed the photos to fellow biologists Mike Fritz and Sam Wilson.  Both independently concluded the most likely explanation was that the bird was in a fight for its life with a mink.  As I was taking photos, the mink apparently got spooked and released the coot.  The coot quickly escaped and found refuge on the water.  It was not my intent to interfere with the interactions between these two animals, but it was apparently a consequence of my curiosity.

With a future post, I’ll show that the water may not always be a refuge for American Coots.

Good birding!

The post What in the world of ol’ coots is happening here? appeared first on NEBRASKALand Magazine.

Previous Article
Public invited to Summit Lake SRA public meeting

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will host a public meeting to gather input on huntin...

Next Article
Howe wins 2018 Cornhusker Cup

DONIPHAN, Neb. – Hunter Howe of Platte Valley 4-H won a three-way shoot-off to win the Cornhusker Cup as ov...