Seen in Otley: COOT: A common and often noisy presence on Otley’s ponds and lakes, Coots are omnivores yet often struggle to feed their large broods of chicks. It’s not unusual for many to die of starvation, and the parents can be quite brutal to weaker members of a brood during food-shortages, attacking them when they beg, so that they stop doing so and die. Like their close relative the Moorhen, they’re known for their prominent frontal shields, which give rise to the “bald as a coot” saying. These are flexible and change size according to season and situation: at this time of year they’re used to attract a mate, males use them to intimidate rivals, and they also protect the face against dense vegetation.
By Neil Griffin Photo by Pixabay