A Congregation of Coots

A compact flock of coots

The dark blob in these photos is a compact flock of newly arrived (?) coots.  As I intermittently watched these birds over the course of 30 to 45 minutes, they swam in an amoeba-like fashion over a distance of 300 to 400 yards.

            At most times the entire group of approximately 250 birds could fit into an area about the size of an average neighborhood swimming pool.  The extremely close spacing of 1 to 2 birds per square yard was remarkable and was maintained throughout the foraging foray.  The shape of the flock varied from nearly circular to an elongated rectangle, but the coots maintained their close proximity to one another.

            The extreme compactness of the flock first attracted my attention and made me wonder if they were recent migrants that may have arrived last night.  Most flocks of coots that I have previously seen have had a much wider spacing for similar numbers of birds.

            More on these coots on Wednesday.

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