Little Cuties – Grebes

On a cold and dreary day last week, I saw this pair of Pied-billed Grebes negotiating fairly substantial swells on our farm pond.

I think these birds are super cute. They swim very low in the water, are small and often hang out around the edges of the pond. So, they are not always easy to see. When they are in the open water, they are often diving for food, and are not always easy to spot.

If you are wondering what a Grebe actually is – it’s not a duck. AllAboutBirds states: “The Latin genus name for “grebe” means “feet at the buttocks”—an apt descriptor for these birds, whose feet are indeed located near their rear ends. This body plan, a common feature of many diving birds, helps grebes propel themselves through water. Lobed (not webbed) toes further assist with swimming. Pied-billed Grebes pay for their aquatic prowess on land, where they walk awkwardly.”

An interesting fact I discovered about the Pied-billed Grebe is that it creates a floating nest! I’m not certain that this pair is going to use our pond to raise their next brood, but I will be keeping a look-out for them when I go out to our pond.

To get a reference regarding their size, here is a photo of one of the Grebe with Blue-winged teal in the background. The Blue-winged teal often visit our pond, and I’m glad to have caught the image of the two species together.

Sometimes referred to as a “tiny dabbling duck”, Ducks.ca website describes the size of Blue-winged teal as “…the half-pints of the duck world. About half the size of a mallard….”

With that said, you can hopefully understand why I titled this Pied-billed Grebe post, “Little Cuties!”

Blue-winged Teal

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