I’m an extremely casual birder, by which I mean that every once in a while, I’ll grab binoculars and my Sibley’s Field Guide to the Birds of Western North America and poke around at a local lake.

And, the cool and slightly embarrassing thing about being a casual newbie birder is that you get to claim really common birds as life-listers. Behold, the latest addition to my life list, the American Coot!

Is that not the most charmingly goofy-looking bird? The tiny little bill! The big, round body! The FEET! Oh, the feet! I’m charmed. And since the coots were not at all shy and posed obligingly for photos, I thought I would share with all of you how charmed I am. (Don’t worry, I won’t make a habit of announcing each addition to my life list here. Most of them don’t photograph nearly so well.)