One of the most abundant birds in South Carolina’s freshwater habitats over the winter months are the American Coots. These birds are common in many places across the country and because they can be relatively tame, people view them almost as chickens that live in the water. If you’ve guessed that I still find them interesting, you’re right on target. One of the mysteries I’ve been trying to figure out is what makes them aggressive. Obviously, they are especially aggressive over abundant food, but there are a lot of oddities in their aggressive behaviors. Sometimes they will form great big flocks, sometimes only a few relatively solitary individuals. Sometimes a single individual will chase several other coots away, but tolerate others inches away. These interactions don’t seem to be the result of family or mate bonds. Just one of the myriad of mysteries of the natural world that more time observing can solve (or reading as I’m sure coot behavior is fairly well studied). Anyway, this coot was feeding along another bird. I love when I can find them out of water, as their crazy feet match their personality perfectly.