American coots are rather strange looking with their red eyes and bumpy heads.
You can find them in lakes and ponds all around San Francisco.
Have you ever seen a baby coot? They are hideously cute. Below is a much older juvenile.
Coots are pretty small at 13-16 inches. Below is a size comparison of a coot with a gull. Also, I like how the red leaf behind the gull makes it look like he has a fiery red tongue.
Yesterday, I visited Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. They had quite a variety of birds in the water. Here you can see the coot next to some mallard ducks and another bird that I have yet to identify.
Several people were feeding the birds. Coots may be small, but they're very fast. They competed with the much larger geese for bread.
The other birds would move fast if they were within a foot of the bread. The coots, on the other hand, would go for any bread that they coot see.
They're very vocal birds too. I could almost hear them say, "I'm huuungry!"