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Palo Alto Baylands: Magnificent marshes will take your breath away

By: Jaymi Heimbuch on June 7, 2013, 1:08 p.m.
American coot

Photo: britta heise/Flickr

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Old coots

American coots are common here, and they are known for their ornery temperament. But that grumpiness is necessary — its aggressive defense of its eggs makes all but the most wily and persistent of predators back off. The high survival rate of the chicks is important to the ecosystem, though, as immature and adult coots are an important part of the food chain for owls, eagles and bobcats among other predators.