Cycling along the Egelantiersgracht (see it on a map) this morning, I spotted some people pointing to a coot’s nest built upon some old, floating car tires. Mother coot had apparently left the building. What’s more: she had taken all her offspring along but for one tiny, wretched baby coot (a ‘zieligje the Dutch would call her). This one had to fend for herself.

I walked over to the other side of the canal to get a better look. Baby Coot made heartwrenching beep-beep sounds.

The assembled residents were quite upset because a bunch of seagulls plus the local grey heron were eying pitiful cootie. They were swarming around her like regular raptors.

Now, you may ask yourself: do seagulls and herons eat baby coots? Well, the only answer to that one is: this is Amsterdam.

Everyone knew the heron. His name was Gijs. He never goes anywhere but the Egelantiersgracht, the neighbors told me. But anyway, what to do? Some lady talked about taking Baby Coot home. Another raised the option of bringing her to a birdrescue organisation. Problem was however that the nest was hard to get to without a boat. And where are those people with boats when you need ’em?

I had an appointment and I was already late, so I had to leave this gutwrenching scene. But it’s not difficult to imagine what happened to Baby Coot.

Another shot of evil Gijs: