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An open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond

Mysterious white waterfowl with the coots

You perhaps noticed in the coot photos a white waterfowl in the water with them. It is larger than a coot, and appears to have an orange bill. It's too far for me to make an ID call. If it can fly, though, why hasn't it left? The eagles do not seem to be targeting it. 

There is a small island on the west side of the entry to Wayzata Bay. Eagles have been roostin there. In this photo you can see several in the trees, four on the ice at the righthand end of the island, and one eagle in the air at that edge of the photo. The total number of eagles visible from the Wayzata city beach at peak times was at least 32.

Eagles successfully hunting coots on Wayzata Bay

About three dozen American Coots found themselves trapped today in a small patch of open water on Wayzata Bay, Lake Minnetonka. They drew the interest of Bald Eagles hunting waterfowl on the lake. As many as 32 eagles were on the scene at mid-afternoon. The eagles would dive on the coots, sending them skidding to one end of the pool. Eagles would drop into the water, sinking shoulder deep as they grabbed for the frantic birds. Coot in hand, the eagles flew off for a solitary lunch, solitary unless other eagles wanted a share. Coots need a long stretch of open water across which to run to gain sufficient speed for liftoff. This piece of water is too small. This was Monday afternoon. If the coots are able to keep the water open into Tuesday the eagles should be back at the lunch counter. Best viewing is from the Wayzata city beach west of the depot.

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