I think coots are my favourite birds. Ridiculous birds, black-suited and bejewelled as if for a formal occasion, but wearing someone else's floppy bedroom slippers. Contortionists, splay-footed divers, splashing maniacs running on water to get up enough speed to fly, with a voice like a kid learning to play the kazoo, or alternately, like the creak of a ratcheted wrench on a rusty bolt, or sometimes the ploop! of a cork coming out of an old medicine bottle. And, in spite of all that, just plain cute.