Sunday, February 6, 2011

Coot love.

It's not uncommon to see a few coots among the ducks at places where people feed waterfowl.  More often than not, the coots spend most of their energy battling each other while the ducks and geese gobble up all the grain.  I've seen them fight furiously, and even show each other their bloomers.  But look at this pair, yesterday at the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, swimming slowly, silently, very close together...

and then this.  They bowed to each other.

And then preening.  They took turns gently nibbling the feathers on each other's head.  I found a few online sources (here, here, here) that mention this behaviour.  Not surprisingly, it is part of courtship, and at least one source described it as behaviour among mated pairs.  Breeding season in North America is April-July, so I'm guessing bowing and preening is also part of the early stages of pair-bonding.  In any case, cute.

Nuzzle nuzzle.


biobabbler said...

oh, my. SO sweet. =) And I would bet $ on your interpretation of bloomers display.

Urban Wild said...

Just in time for Valentine's Day, too!