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Marsh Musings
BY Dr. Dan Witt
hoi kl marsh musings
American coot

Is it just me or is life “bumpy” in Kansas right now?  The government healthcare website is a mess.  Pat Roberts recommends removing Sec. Sebelius -- and he worked for her father.  Jerry Moran is voting with Mr. Obama on the healthcare issue.  Governor Brownback has ratings lower than the President, and horribly, across our nation, school kids are killing teachers.  It seems like a lot of things are to messy and complicated to correct.  
I think the family unit needs all the support we can muster, and so do those single parent families that are forced to survive in a hectic atmosphere.  A “constant factor” is a important item in all our lives.
In the marsh, there are lots of constants and variables.  Weather, water, wind, migration and seasonal changes are always present.  The ducks haven’t arrived, the cranes are still absent, the shore birds have moved on-- what is here?  Answer-- the American coot.  These birds are similar in size to a duck and feed mostly on aquatic vegetation.
They are genetically related to the sandhill cranes and rails.  The limit is 15, and I don’t know anyone who has ever eaten one. They are usually in large groups and are easily recognized by their dark body and white beak and face.  They have to run and beat the water with their wings to get airborne and are somewhat comical in that process.  They do migrate, but also seem to be a “constant factor” in all seasons when the water is not frozen.  
Tough, cheerful, busy and industrious-- they are always with us and somehow seem to stabilize our world.  Go see the “constants in the Marsh” and enjoy a happy member of our marsh community.  You won’t be disappointed.
Doc Witt is a retired physician and wild life enthusiast.