Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Disoriented coot admitted to rehabilitation center

It’s not a duck, a crane or a pigeon was the description of a bird found lying, presumably injured, in the road near someone’s home. Upon arrival we too were stumped, but 2 minutes into our bird books confirmed our suspicions that what had arrived was a duck-like bird commonly referred to as an American Coot.

Our coot wasn’t really drunk, he may have been hit by a passing car however, which causes head trauma and the characteristics of being inebriated. The phrases “old coot” and “bald as a coot” actually originate from the 1430’s. According to, John Lyndgate’s Chronicle of Troy refers to someone being “as balde as is a coot.” This idea of the coot being bald actually comes from white markings on the foreheads of many males. To direct one of these phrases to a person in today’s terminology often implies, according to the free, you believe they are a foolish person, especially an older man. As best we could tell from our research, this is where the “baldness” comes into play. If anyone else knows originations or meanings of the phrase I’d be interested to know.

At this point the coot is in guarded care. He/she (I don’t know yet) has a pretty severe fracture in one wing and they think they feel scar tissue which means that the fracture likely did not happen just this morning. We are waiting to hear back from one of our volunteer veterinarians to get it in for an x-ray. Even if it is a repairable fracture, with scar tissue already forming, time is not on our side. We’ve rarely seen these birds here at the Center so keep your fingers crossed for the little guy/gal.

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