Tough Little Grebe

I last saw a Pied-billed Grebe at the end of January in the same area, hugging the north shore of the park. That one lacked the black stripe on the bill that the bird wears when in breeding mode. This one, two months later, definitely has the band around its bill. I can’t tell whether it’s the same bird.

As I mentioned earlier, these birds are small but capable and tough. They have lobed feet like coots, not webbed feet like ducks. They can paddle fast on the surface, and even faster underwater, aided by their ability to trap water in their feathers and thereby control their buoyancy. Their beak is powerful enough to crush clams and mussels. Not a bird to be bullied. A much larger Double-crested Cormorant hunted in close proximity to this grebe but left it alone.

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)

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