Cute Alert! Whenever I see Western Grebe chicks riding piggyback on their parents I can’t help thinking that there is a definite cute factor going on right in front of me. Bear River National Wildlife Refuge’s auto tour route in northern Utah is a great place to see Western and Clark’s Grebes during the breeding season. Early in the season the adults can be seen performing their mating rituals which includes a choreographed courtship display called rushing where both birds rise up, slap the water with their feet and rush across a body of water.
After the courtship, nest building and incubation the tiny grebe chicks are brooded on the backs of the adults for a period of 2 to 4 weeks. When the chicks are as young as the one shown above they bear little resemblance to the adults in coloration, instead of black and white they are a soft gray and downy with dark eyes and a stubby black bill.
Cute? You be the judge.