The first Oxford citation is from John Lydgate’s Troy Book, a Middle English poem written from 1412 to 1420: “And yet he was as balde as is a coote.” This was apparently a reference to the Eurasian coot, which has often been referred to as the bald coot because of the white frontal shield on the forehead of the primarily black bird. Many, but not all,[vague] have white on the under tail. By the 1700s, a dialectical form of "cadger" emerged — "codger — with the meaning of "a stingy, miserly old man." Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives. Overwhelmed and Understaffed, Our National Wildlife Refuges Need Help. The American coot has been observed rarely in Britain and Ireland, while the Eurasian coot is found across Asia, Australia and parts of Africa. the original "Coot" decals were taken from the "Coors" beer decal font. Coots are medium-sized water birds that are members of the rail family, Rallidae. Photo: Howard Arndt/Audubon Photography Awards, Great Egret. Since then, the definition of "codger" has mellowed a bit. Photo: Dick Dickinson/Audubon Photography Awards, Adult. Although “foolish guillemot” may very well have influenced this usage, that avian phrase didn’t appear in writing until somewhat later in the 18th century, according to our searches of digitized books. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a chance to celebrate the diversity and resilience of our country’s original inhabitants, whose long-overlooked ecological knowledge can help guide conservation today. And Green’s Dictionary of Slang suggests the foolish usage may have originated as a “play on Lat. It also means, a person who is foolish/eccentric/stupid. ( colloquial) A foolish or eccentric fellow. In many cases it seems to have been applied to the Guillemot.”, Afterward, the OED says, the term “coot” was given to the Eurasian coot “and generically extended to all the species of Fulica.” (A murre in the US is a guillemot in the UK, the latter borrowed from French in the 17th century. Think of this tidbit of info as a "coot" tip. It’s the least you can do. A silly coot. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too. coot ( plural coots ) Any of various aquatic birds of the genus Fulica that are mainly black with a prominent frontal shield on the forehead. Since then, the definition of "codger" … When “coot” appeared in the 18th century as a noun for a person, it referred to a “silly person” or “simpleton,” according to Oxford. decoration on the forehead, with red to dark red eyes and coloured bills. When I looked puzzled, he explained, "That's what I call old ladies with frizzy white hair. 'Bald' has several meanings, one of which is 'streaked or marked with white'. They tend to have short, rounded wings and are weak fliers, though northern species nevertheless can cover long distances. 1 or 2 broods per year. What's the origin of the phrase 'As bald as a coot'? This page was last edited on 1 September 2020, at 06:36. "Codger" derives, not from falconry, but from the verb "cadge," which once meant "to carry about." Chick mortality occurs mainly due to starvation rather than predation as coots have difficulty feeding a large family of hatchlings on the tiny shrimp and insects that they collect. Also eats insects, tadpoles, fish, worms, snails, crayfish, prawns, eggs of other birds. ", Because these "cadgers" were associated with disreputable traits — cheating, swindling, swearing, texting while driving — "cadger" soon became a term for beggars and tramps, and the verb "cadge" came to mean "to beg, sponge. Lives of North American Birds. So how did “coot” evolve in English from the name for a bird to a noun for an old person, especially an eccentric or crotchety old man? Nest site is among tall marsh vegetation in shallow water. Or take action immediately with one of our current campaigns below: The Audubon Bird Guide is a free and complete field guide to more than 800 species of North American birds, right in your pocket. Young: can swim well soon after hatching; follow parents and are fed by them. Today we call this Parliament. Nest (built by both sexes) is floating platform of dead cattails, bulrushes, sedges, lined with finer materials, anchored to standing plants. The earliest Oxford example for the noun “coot” used in the avian sense is from the Wycliffe Bible of 1382: “An ostriche, and a nyȝt [night] crowe, and a coote, and an hawke” (Leviticus 11:16).

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