Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fulica Americana

When I first found these strange birds down at the Pond, I had no idea what they were. I'd never seen them before in my life. Apparently I wasn't the only Oklahoman not familiar with the American Coot (Fulica Americana).

According to, the American Coot may be described as a 15" Gray duck-like bird with a white bill and frontal shield, white undertail coverts, and lobed toes, frontal shield has a red swelling at its upper edge, visible at close range, immatures similar but paler.

The Coot eats mostly aquatic vegetation, algae; also fish, tadpoles, crustaceans, snails, worms, aquatic and terrestrial insects, eggs of other marsh-nesting birds. It pirates plants from ducks.

Coots are usually found near shore, considered golf course and gun club pests. Fortunately, they are migratory and are not a problem for long. According to The Journal of Wildlife Management, the coots arrive in late February and a generally gone by May.

This picture (taken by Berlin Heck) shows a pair of Coots. Although the name is eerily similar (as suggested by a couple of readers of this blog), I do not believe that this bird was intentionally named in honor of the Cooter. Although it would have been interesting, and a very different experience, had a "Vajayjay" nested in my Pond.

Maybe the confusion comes because like the words to, to, too, too and two - Coot and Cooter are very close, but they are not homonyms like the 2's. Homonyms are words that share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings. Coot and Cooter are actually paronyms - words which are almost homonyms, but have slight differences in spelling or pronunciation and have different meanings. A Coot is not a HappyMeal's unmentionable bald biscuit. Just as a Cooter is not just a bird. It's a actually any of several freshwater turtles.

Words like affect and effect are probably better paronyms, but just aren't as funny.


TerriRainer said...

"a vajayjay nested in your pond"???!!! I actually snorted out loud when I read that.

Wouldn't it be far more advantageous to you to actually nest in the vajayjay, and not vice versa?

(Bad Terri! I slapped my hands repeatedly, but alas, they still type naughty things)


Robyn said...

Really Skeeter...'a vajayjay nested in your pong' *howling with laughter! WHAT?! I have been gone far to long my friend. Thanks for the belly laugh! Much needed my friend! You really got me...*wiping tears away from laughing so hard*

Thanks for stopping by, I have missed you as well. I am trying to balance things and finding it a bit hard sometimes. *groan* life my friend. Well off to blog some more and try to catch up a bit!
Many hugs to you!

Robyn said...

that was to say 'pond not pong' geesh!

Maria said...

Freudian slip there, Robyn?? :)

I would personally love to have a vajayjay nest in my back yard. I would take a picture and everything. But...we just have some very territorial cardinals.

NouveauBlogger said...

Birds eh? I think I recognize a Cardinal if I see one. But that's about it. Wait! I know a duck if I see one, too, but not what kind it is. Oh, and pigeons. I know pigeons. I guess I know a lot about birds after all, lol.

bindhiya said...

Dear Skeeter,
Thanks for your kind words!

first i thought you named that bird a famous indian movie star's first name.... if so it is Vijay... :))
♥ & ((hugs))

CIELO said...

How awesome... you funny crazy guy! :) Do you cook too? :)

Well, come to the house in the roses for we are having a dessert carnival… come and participate. It promises to be FANTASTIC!!!

Have a great day,


Leah said...

Do you know I'd never heard the word "paronym"? You taught me something today! Thanks! Now I just have to try to work it into conversation...

sexy said...
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