Just because it looks like a duck, ducks like a duck and hangs out with ducks, doesn’t mean its a duck. The American Coot is a closer relative of the Sandhill Crane according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. If you look closely, you can see that the American Coot does not have webbed feet; it simply kicks through the water. The American Coot is fairly common throughout most of North American and lives in Texas year round. I found this specimen on Shoveler Pond at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge about 20 miles east of Houston along the Texas Gulf Coast on 4/20/14. I have found these birds to be wary of humans in the past, but on this day, they let me approach quite closely. Photo taken with the Nikon D4 and 200-400mm f4 zoom Nikkor. To get airborne, coots typically have to beat their wings while running across the water for many yards.