Monday, March 17, 2014

Identity Crisis

So, I was out shooting birds the other day (with my camera, don't worry!) at Ditto Landing in Huntsville. Normally, I don't go to this spot, just because it's more of a recreational spot and I like the empty, more secluded spots that don't have crowds of folks or lots of fishermen/hunters. But, there's a nice paved trail along the river and a small group of American Coots that are friendly and will approach for good photograph opportunities.

My walk down the paved trail yields nothing but hidden views of Cardinals, Titmice, and Brown Thrashers, so I decide to head back to the docks at the landing. Here, about eight American Coots would surround the dock and allow me to take beautiful pictures of them.

I stopped for a bit, mostly to rest my arm as my new combination (lens/body) is much heavier than I'm used to and I didn't have my arm propped very well. As I sat there, I realized something.

Coots are amazing birds!

Most folks wouldn't think twice about a Coot... dull, black... usually hundreds of them in every given spot of water... but, just sit and watch them. I have this theory that you can't really enjoy birds until you start to appreciate the most basic, common ones you see. This has held true for me.

Sitting there I thought about all sorts of things- but mostly, I started to identify with Coots. Feeling overlooked and plain... passed over for flashy, better-looking people. How many people have passed me by, never saying a word, simply because I didn't stand out to them?

I'm a Coot. Chunky, a tad plain, but beautiful in my own right. I'm talkative (sit and listen to Coots... they never shut up!), social, funny, only fly if I have to, and brave. I honestly couldn't think of a better bird that fits me.

There's something to be said for making personal realizations about yourself while doing the one thing you love more than anything. It brought up a lot of emotion, and a lot of happiness. I'm proud to be a Coot, because that means the people who realize my beauty are the kind of people who I want in my life... not the ones who pass me over for something aesthetically "better".

So, I went back to shooting, when this Coot came up and checked me out. Now, I'm not going to be cheesy and say we had a connection- but hey, maybe he knew I was a Coot too.

What bird do you identify with? Feel free to share in the comments.

Stay tuned for my Ohio and Arizona trip reports later in March/April.

And, as always... Until next time- Happy birding to all of you!


  1. Coots are defiantly cute! So there!!! ;-)

  2. When I read you identify yourself with Coots I instantly thought "hey, me too, bald, kick a lot and try to drown rivals!" Your vision of them was better :)

    Actually I agree though, (although from the other side of the Atlantic so ours are slightly different) coots are a very under rated bird, and also hard to photograph well due to the clash of black and white (you often lose the red eye), so well done on your photographs, they are great.