Snail vs. Coot
On Sunday, I did one of my all day birding extravaganzas along the Lake Michigan shoreline, starting at Harbor Island which is near Grand Haven Michigan. I had spent the morning shooting photos of birds (of course) that will appear in another post, or be added to the posts that I’ve already done in the My Photo Life List project that I began last year.
I had covered most of Harbor Island and had made it back to my vehicle, in preparation for heading to my next stop. I was feeling a bit hungry, so I decided on a snack before continuing on. I had brought a loaf of French bread with me, my favorite thing to gnaw on while on trip like the one this day. I had broken off a chunk of the bread, and was enjoying the fine spring day, when I noticed an American Coot very close to me, right along the shore where I had parked.
I grabbed my camera which had the Sigma 150-500 mm lens with a Tamron 1.4 X tele-converter installed behind it, to get a few photos of the coot. Some of the following photos aren’t great, it’s hard to shoot photos with a chunk of French bread clinched in your teeth at the same time.
It looks as if the coot was seeing its own reflection for the first time, but it was really looking for food, which it soon found.
I knew that some birds eat snails, I assumed that they crushed the snail’s shell to get tot the snail itself, but this coot didn’t do that. It inserted its beak into the shell until it got a hold on the snail, then shook its head violently to pull the snail from its shell.
Crude, but effective, as you can see here. You can click on any of these photos for a larger version, and if you do, you’ll see that the snail is in the coot’s beak as the shell drops away.
There must have been a few snails there, as the coot repeat the process several times.
If you look closely, you can see that things didn’t go well on the last snail, the coot lost its grip on the snail, which landed on the coot’s beak.
This lead to some wild gyrations by the coot as it tried to get the snail off from its beak, and into its mouth.
The coot persevered, and swan off in search of more morsels of food.
I finished my chunk of French bread, and went off in search of more birds to photograph.
That’s it for this one, I hope that you enjoyed this little look into both the feeding practices of coots, and how things don’t always go as planned in the world of nature, just as in the human world. Thanks for stopping by!