Broken Wing

Western Grebe, injured (Aechmophorus occidentalis)

This bird is in trouble. Its right wing is broken, and the flight feathers that should fold neatly down over its back instead stick out upside down over its rump. It’s able to preen and paddle vigorously, but it can’t flap both wings the way it would normally do. It can’t even flap its left wing fully because that would spin it around. If it does not get medical care, it is doomed. Lindsay Wildlife Hospital cares for sick or injured birds, but does not have the resources to go out and pick them up. International Bird Rescue performs similar services with the same limitation. Ditto the Wildcare Wildlife Hospital in San Rafael. If there were a way to capture this bird in the water and take it to one of the bird hospitals, it might be saved.

This individual is a Western Grebe. Its beak is a muddy yellow/green, with its black cap reaching down below the eye. The much more common Clark’s Grebes have clear yellow beaks and the dark cap ends above and clear of the eye.

Western Grebe, injured (Aechmophorus occidentalis)

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3 thoughts on “Broken Wing

  • I saw the bird originally on the east side of the park, not 30 yards from shore, but paddling away. This morning I did not see it at all.

  • I would be happy to transport to San Rafael, but wouldn’t we need some with a boat to capture it? Has anyone checked with Marina office? My husband used to keep a small boat there but he sold it a couple years ago.

  • We have captured a few hurt birds and taken them to the International Bird Rescue place. The last one was just released back into the north basin a few weeks ago – a scaup. The fellow in your video looks too healthy to catch but we can try tomorrow when the wind is down a bit. Where did you see it?

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