A Heap of Horned Grebe

More Horned Grebe than I ever saw before, or thought probable, showed up on the North Basin at midday Monday. It took me quite a while to wrap my head around their identity. A Scaup or two and a few Ruddys mixed in helped to confuse the issue. That, plus the fact that nearly all the birds were snoozing, with their telltale pointy beaks buried in their wing feathers and their neon red eyes shut. Luckily, a few of them woke up from time to time and left no doubt about their identity. I saw a small group of ten Horned Grebes on January 8 this year, but never a grebe gathering of this magnitude. By my rough count, there were at least one hundred of them. I may have to amend my pessimistic view of the migratory waterfowl season this year.

These birds are wearing their relatively drab nonbreeding winter plumage. When it comes mating time, the males put on a spectacular cloak of colors; see the Audubon and Cornell websites for examples.

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One thought on “A Heap of Horned Grebe

  • A different take on these lovely Grebes “drab” can transform to lovely and low key white, gray, black accentuated by bright red eyes.

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