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Old Sunday 21st November 2004, 12:31   #1
Ronald Zee
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Parent coots abandoning a young and accepting it again about 12 days later

One day last July, while visiting a small pond to look at a coot family with one young, I saw that both parents were not in the pond and that the young coot of about 4 weeks was all alone. Later I saw that the parents had crossed the road and were in a small canal, thinking that they would return to the pond later I left.

A couple of days later I saw that the young coot was still alone in the pond, so wanting to know if it would survive without the aid of the parents I visited it twice a day for the next 11 days also giving it some bread. I did visit the pond in the morning at 08.00, or in the afternoon at about 15.00 or at night between 20.00 and 22.00 and never saw the parents back there.

Then on the 12th day I did not see the young coot, my first thought was that it must have died, but all the days I visited it, it didn’t look ill and by now it was too big to be eaten by a bigger bird. So I did go to the canal where its parents were, to my surprise it was there as well. So finally it had left the pond, perhaps it had followed the ducks who were forever going back and forth from the canal to the pond.

What surprised me the most was that the parents did feed it, after all they had left the pond and had not taken care of it for about 12 days. The young coot stayed with its parents for 2 more months, in that time, again to my surprise, parents and young could be found at the pond several times.

So one day in September I could not find my little friend, it was not in the pond nor in the canal, it had finally left its parents. I have been following coots for more than 7 years now but this was the first time I saw parents abandoning a young and then later accepting it again.

Last edited by Ronald Zee : Sunday 21st November 2004 at 12:43.
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Old Sunday 21st November 2004, 15:41   #2
Malcolm Fisher
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Fascinating account Ronald.
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Old Sunday 21st November 2004, 16:40   #3
pduxon
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as Malcolm say very interesting.

I think many of us are guilty (whistles knowlingly) of ignoring birds like Coots.
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Old Sunday 21st November 2004, 19:37   #4
Nina P
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HOw very intrigueing, that has been someting different to report and I happen to like the dear little things, moorhens are another!
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Old Monday 22nd November 2004, 18:58   #5
James Blake
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Thanks for posting this - I always enjoy hearing about original observations of bird behaviour.
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