Birdwatch: why coots and their ‘friends’ are worth a closer look – Rights History
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Birdwatch: why coots and their ‘friends’ are worth a closer look

The ‘funny black ducks’ from my youth are often near a gadwall – and I was shocked to learn why

I have a soft spot for coots, because almost 60 years ago, when I was a young child, they kick-started my life as a birder.

As I mentioned in an early Guardian column, this began when my mother took me down to feed the birds by the River Thames at Laleham, and I asked her what those “funny black ducks” were.

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