While arguably the American Coot, Fulica americana, is not a "Rare Bird" in
our area it turns out that it has an ability which may be rare indeed. The
quote below is from a SF Chronicle story which can be accessed at the
website listed. (The weblink may only remain active for a few days but the
original story appears in the current issue of the scientific journal Nature
if anyone cares to pursue it.)
PS - Since the study was done in British Columbia I think it remains to be
seen whether Mendocino and Lake county coots know how to count. :)
> The brainy horses that counted with their feet in the circuses of yesteryear
> were merely well-trained frauds, but now a UC Santa Cruz scientist has
> discovered the real thing: an animal that can count.
> The animal in question is the much-maligned coot, a pesky little waterfowl
> that inspired the expression "crazy as a coot" because it swims in jerks
> without webbed feet and walks with an ungainly gait.