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PROWLS catches and releases trapped American coot

American coot

An American coot was blown into the shop enclosure at Brooks Secondary School during high winds. This was a highly unusual place to find the water bird, and it was very anxious to escape.

Coots are awkward flyers, though, that need a long stretch of water to take off, so it couldn’t get out. Trapped there over the weekend, by Monday morning it was desperately hungry and thirsty.

Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society (PROWLS) was called and the stressed, weakened bird was quickly caught and removed, although it strenuously resisted.

After debating whether to keep the coot for a couple of days to get it plump and strong again, the decision was made to release it right away and not stress it any further.

Fighting and complaining all the way, it was taken straight to Lindsay Park and dropped in Cranberry Lake. Disoriented, it took a few seconds to look around, then swam as quickly as it could over to join a fellow coot. Gregarious, they had a lively chat and soon began to swim together, both bobbing and dabbling for food.

Coots live in lakes and oceans and are closer relatives of the gangly sandhill crane than they are of ducks.