Friday Photos – Pied-billed Grebes

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Pied-billed Grebe ReflectionsPied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) Reflections –  Nikon D200, tripod mounted, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

This morning I did something I haven’t done in awhile, I put a sweatshirt on because the morning had a slight nip in the air and it reminded me that fall will be here soon. I’m looking forward to the crisp cool air after all the summer heat but most of all I am looking forward to the birds I have missed seeing during the hottest part of the year, one of those birds are the Pied-billed Grebes.

When the heat arrives here in Utah I just do not see the Pied-billed Grebes frequently and I get to missing the saucy, feisty little grebes but as cooler temperatures prevail I begin to see them far more often. Pied-billed Grebes are the widest ranging of the grebes of North America and what they lack in size they make up for with big attitudes. They sure don’t hesitate to chase much larger birds out of their territories.

An interesting fact about Pied-billed Grebes is that they only migrate at night. I’ve seen them flap their wings when they are aggressively chasing other birds but I have never seen them in flight. Also; their legs are placed so far back on their body that walking is extremely difficult for them, I have only seen them walking on the shoreline a few times. Here in Utah they will migrate south only after the ponds and lakes freeze completely over.

The image above was taken after the frost had turned the vegetation surrounding this pond a warm golden color, it sure made for delightful colors reflected on the water’s surface that compliments the shades of browns of the grebe very nicely.

Some people call them “drab little birds” but I find their subtle coloring very appealing plus I love to watch these small grebes and the funny things they do.




  1. David Sparks September 24, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    I thought I was leaving a comment here, but I think it went to Facebook instead.
    …and the Pied-billed Grebes seem to spend a lot of time in calm waters with colorful reflections, as your photo illustrates so nicely.

  2. Jeremy Medina September 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Great color and clarity in this photo!

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