We went birding at Tahkenitch Lake yesterday, taking the Fivemile Rd and stopping along the Mallard Arm and Fivemile Arm to count birds. The tiny specs on the water in the photo are American Coots, or as I remember my dad calling them, Mud Hens. There were unbelievable numbers of these birds at every stop we made, too numerous to count, in total I’m sure we saw over 1,000. At one point a Bald Eagle glided silently past and then we noticed the Coots all pressed together in a tight formation. Our best guess is that it was a defensive measure against the Eagle. Coots are not pretty birds, in fact rather ugly, and they must not be good to eat because hunters do not seem interested in killing them. My best guess is their most important value is providing an ample food source for raptors.