Clark’s Grebes and their young

Adult and juvenile Clark's GrebeAdult and juvenile Clark’s Grebe

Earlier this week I saw several Clark’s Grebes while on the auto tour route of Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in northern Utah along with numerous Western Grebes. The photos I am presenting this morning are not from this year but do represent what I will be seeing later on in the season. Clark’s and Western Grebe were considered the same species for quite some time but they are now considered separate species.

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is a wonderful location to see nesting Clark’s Grebes as well as a great place to see them rearing their young. There are many locations where the water in the impoundments is close to the auto tour route which can allow close up opportunities for observation and photography.

The photo above shows the moment after the adult Clark’s Grebe passed a small fish to the juvenile. The adult was going out of breeding plumage by this time and the immature grebe’s eyes were starting to turn the cherry red that I enjoy seeing so much.

Juvenile Clark's Grebe and preyJuvenile Clark’s Grebe and prey

Not long after the adult passed the prey to the juvenile Clark’s Grebe it paddled away from the adult and shook it’s prey several times, dropped it into the water and picked it back up before ingesting it.

Clark's Grebe back broodingClark’s Grebe back brooding

Clark’s Grebes leave the nest soon after the last chick has hatched and from that point on will back brood their chicks until the chicks are two to four weeks of age. This image shows one of the Clark’s Grebe chicks resting on one of the adults while the other parent was searching for food nearby.

Before the chicks are hatched this year the adults will be courting, displaying and dancing on the water as they rush and I hope to spend time trying to photograph all of those behaviors to share with you.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Love these images, Could that be a small loach the young one is eating p ?

  2. Mia, awesome grebe photo. The juvenile Grebe is so cute, great sighting!

  3. Mom and baby! Cute :)

  4. Love everything about this series of excellent photographs! Except that this species never visits us down here in the land of sunshine!

    Very nice work, Mia!

  5. Beautiful birds. Wonderful photos.

  6. That final image, with the youngster snuggled in, has melted my heart this morning. And I loved learning that the ‘red eye’ phenomena comes with maturity – or at least age (as it did for me).

  7. Wonderful shots. Love the baby sitting on the parent’s back! So sweet and nice reflections and light!

  8. That last one leaves me with warm fuzzies. True love for their children!

  9. Aww. wonderful pictures.. a family outing..

  10. Superb Grebe photos, Mia! I have always wished to see the courting rituals of the Grebes. Maybe I can enjoy them through your photos.

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