Those crazy coots...

I went over to Vanport yesterday morning hoping to see the Vermilion Flycatcher that was seen the day before... No luck there so I walked over to Force Lake.  From a distance things seemed pretty calm but right as I walked up two American Coots began a 3-minute long battle royale... It was intense!

At first they just seemed to be dancing...

Then things got fierce.  They were each trying to put their feet on the other's belly to push them down...

A third coot came in at one point mostly just yelling at them...

The third coot retreated to a branch nearby to yell some more.  A pair of Mallards came by to watch for a bit...

I thought this fight was never going to end.  Every time it seemed to slow down it started up again...

At times they were both underwater...

I seriously took about 200 photos of this spectacle... It was so crazy to watch.

Eventually a fourth coot joined the fuss and the third coot returned to yell some more.

The fourth coot is the one on the left in the photo above and below..  He or she jumped in and took care of business...

Soon after his or her arrival, the melee was dispersed and one coot went off to the left, one to the right, and two went off together.  I guess things were settled.  For awhile I thought the coots may have been mating but searching around online taught me it was most likely two males having a territorial dispute.  It just goes to show me that even if I don't find the bird I'm looking for I might just see something crazy anyway!


  1. OMG that was WWLIVE or something...YIKES it looks at one point like their feet are locked in a death grip...WOE (what on earth) could have been so important to a couple of seeming docile creatures???
    Glad that 4th came along and straightened them up...WOW bar-fight!!
    I feel the same matter what gets me OUT and Looking I always find something else--just as good if not better.

  2. Oh my, that was some knock down drag out fight! I've never seen such a thing. You have done a outstanding job of capturing the intensity of the melee. Quite a series!

  3. What a great series of behavioral photos, Jen! Good job!

  4. same over here in the UK Jen. A couple of weeks ago i watched 2 Common Coot having a fight when a third bird ran across the water full width of the reservoir to join in

  5. Wow, what a cool sight to watch. I thought they were fighting over a female. Great series, Jen!

  6. Great series of pics Jen! I just got back from Switzerland. The most common ducks; Mallards and Coots :-), although the Coots are Eurasian, but are almost the same.

  7. Oh, these are so much fun! All they ever do for me is dive for seaweed ;)

  8. All birds are a little crazy at this time of the year. They like it a little rough. Great pictures.

  9. Coot battle.....epic....Ive been watching a lot of grackles doing a lot of the same lately....hope youre well!

  10. Great sequence!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  11. What a site that must have been. I love the photos of them doing the back stroke. I LOL. It was a great series. Thanks.

  12. Great pix, made me laugh! What a treat for you!


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