Friday, 30 October 2009

''How do you catch your Coot?'' a question that I've been asked many times this week. Since my last blog post on colour ringing Coot - I've had quite a number of e-mails from ringers all over the UK and even one from Norway asking how I catch my Coot. So I thought I would put something on the blog for all to see.

Really - it is quite simple. You'll need a couple loafs of bread and a bit of patience and basically just go feeding the ducks! (Of course with the permission of the landowner first) as soon as a Coot comes near enough to catch it - Go for it! You may however get ''funny'' looks from members of the public - most seem to ignore it - but it can be good PR work!

Whilst Me and Craig where out catching birds - he videoed me catching a bird (see below)

Most of the birds I catch are in the water - so am on my hands/knees when catching - however some birds do wander out of the water and will feed at your feet. They seem to be more confident when the weather gets cold and natural food dries up - I've found November and December to be my most productive months. Also they seem to be more confident when larger wildfowl such as Mute Swan / Canada Goose are surrounding them.

Now that's in parks/lakes where the local wildfowl regularly get fed by the public - however not all Coot are tame and certainly at locations were feeding does not occur they can be ''wild''. However Coot can by caught in duck traps and decoys baited with grain/corn - once they have become accustomed to entering them.

It must be said that once you've got hold of a bird, they can be quite vicious! - they scratch, bite and poop everywhere!!

Ageing Coot.

Birds are aged on their tarsus colour - with adults having bright yellow, orange or even red on the side of the tarsus. Juvenile birds have dull legs - side of tarsus grey gradually becoming yellow/orange. Adults also have a black breast were as juvs have white streaks on the breast. Adults have reddish iris and Juvs have brownish. Size of frontal shield is also useful - smaller in juveniles.



So now you know how we catch our Coot - grab some G's and give it a go.....


  1. Nice video. The same way we do it here in Norway. The main difference is we having 50 mallards stepping on each other in the mess. Those lazy white birds do not react at all! Amazing. That does explain how you’re able to catch 35 a week.
    Keep up the good work.


  2. Looks easy - You’d have laughed at our attempt to catch a Mallard at the weekend!