A mud hen is a marsh bird with short wings and long legs that inhabits swamps or marshes. Such birds have been known as marsh hens, rails, coots, or mud hens.
The American coot is a migratory bird that occupies most of North America. It lives in the Pacific and southwestern United States and Mexico year-round and occupies more northeastern regions during the summer breeding season.
The Toledo baseball Mud Hens earned their present name in 1896 and have kept it, with very few exceptions, ever since. In that year the team played at Bay View Park. The surrounding marshland was frequented by these strange birds. The abundance of mud hens near the park brought about the nickname and the rest, as they say, is history.
[Photos: "Mike" Michael L. Baird]