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.