I have never seen any coots here on the little farm pond before. Yesterday afternoon I was exploring the far end of the property on the pond shoreline and saw a single American Coot paddling around in the muddy reeds. Coots are not ducks even though they look a lot like them. The coots have a large white beak and also have toed feet with webbing like a duck. A mixture of duck and chicken-like bird characteristics. Coots are members of the Rail family of birds. Coots are chicken or duck-sized birds. They paddle on ponds, lakes and slow rivers, fly, and also stroll around on the shore.
I had a small flock of coots graze on my front lawn last year at the lake house. Coots eat water plants, grasses, and grains. They like to dive under the water to seek out tender aquatic plants for their meal. They also dive to avoid predators. Coots are themselves favored as a meal by Bald Eagles, Osprey, and most kinds of Hawks. That is one reason why the Bald Eagles are in the Crossville, TN area during the winter months along larger lakes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photo. Enjoy!