I observed these American Coots on a brisk December morning. There were many hundreds of these birds at this small lake in Lewisville, Texas when I stopped by. The coots were like me in the sense that they too seemed to be having a hard time getting revved up this early on a chilly morning.

American Coots feed on aquatic vegetation and many of these birds were breakfasting on some kind of star-leafed vine. Other coots were deep diving for their morning meal. I watched as a number of coots splashed beneath the surface. The birds could stay submerged for several minutes at a time.

These two behaviors set the stage for the last photograph in this series. The American Coot in this picture apparently became entangled while diving for food and was unable to reach the surface again. With his foot in the grasp of the underwater plant growth, the American Coot drowned with air just inches away.

American Coot - At Dawn

American Coot - At Dawn

American Coot - At Dawn

American Coot - At Dawn

American Coot - At Dawn

American Coot - At Dawn

American Coot - At Dawn

American Coot - At Dawn

American Coot - At Dawn

American Coot - At Dawn