Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pied-Billed Grebe

The Pied-Billed is the second smallest Grebe in North America, but is probably the most widely seen due to its trans-constinental range. They are modest and pretty shy birds, though they are also excellent divers and hunters as far as waterfowl go.

Pied-Billed Grebes are named for the black band that develops on their beaks during mating season. Apart from this signature marking they're pretty dull looking adults, but their chicks look like real firecrackers.

Grebes have a certain reputation for eating feathers, which supposedly helps aid them in digestion (why don't other birds do this then?). While I was not lucky enough to see the couple of Grebes at the Gilbert Water Ranch eating feathers, I did see them devouring minnows with unexpected ease. It was very cool to see them submerge and swim around in the shallow ponds, while the envious Mallards floated above.

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