Coots get a bad rap. They are commonly thought to be just plain dumb birds. Interestingly, though, I read an article recently that revealed that they actually have a rare talent. A female coot is actually smart enough to count her eggs, or at least recognize if another coot has deposited an egg in her nest, and treat the additional egg differently than her own. This is a rare talent in the bird world. Who'da thunk it? So here's to the American Coot, and if anyone calls you a "silly old coot," you take that as a compliment, and wear your cootness with pride.