Grebe chicks are showing up all over at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge (aka Bear River National Wildlife Refuge) in northern Utah and they are just adorable to see and photograph.

Western Grebe FamilyWestern Grebe Family – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I have been seeing Clark’s, Pied-billed and Western Grebes with chicks but I haven’t gotten any close images of the Pied-billed Grebes with their young so I am focusing on Western and Clark’s Grebe images for this post.

Young Western and Clark’s Grebes hitch rides on their parents backs, the image above shows a Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) with three chicks of different sizes. The eggs of Western and Clark’s Grebes do not hatch all at the same time so there are often several days between the oldest and youngest chicks. The chick at the tail end of the adult was larger than the other two birds.

Clark's Grebe with a chickClark’s Grebe with a chick – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

There is only one chick visible on this adult Clark’s Grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii) back but there could be more underneath the wings. When the grebe chicks are very young it can be difficult to see them because they hide under the feathers, sometimes the only way to know there are tiny young birds on the back of the adults is that the wings feathers are usually raised higher than they normally would be.

I’ll be doing more posts soon on Western and Clark’s Grebes.


* I am out of town so I scheduled this post ahead of time, please feel free to share.


  1. Karen Bonsell September 16, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Awesome shots Mia! I surely hope I happen upon a scene like this someday! It is so precious!

    • Mia McPherson September 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      Thank you very much Karen, I hope you get to see this too.

  2. Linda Rockwell June 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    These photos are so adorable I can hardly stand it! Just wonderful. 🙂

    • Mia McPherson June 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks Linda, those chicks are adorable.

  3. Susan June 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Wonderful, what fascinating behavior, would love to see it some time. Beautiful captures Mia:)

  4. Bob Zeller June 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Beautiful and wonderful, Mia. I can’t add much more than what the others said.

  5. Jim Braswell June 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Lovely images, Mia! Must be really awesome to see/photograph such an experience!

    • Mia McPherson June 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      Thank you Jim, it is awesome to see and photograph grebe chicks hitching a ride.

  6. Tammy Karr June 12, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Amazing photos Mia, just stunning! What a sight to see!

    • Mia McPherson June 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      Thank you Tammy, this sight is always amazing to see.

  7. Laurence Butler June 12, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Absolutely marvelous. Such gorgeous shots of one of nature’s more adorable parental behaviors : )

    • Mia McPherson June 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      Thank you Laurence, it is adorable behavior!

  8. Carol Mattingly June 12, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Gorgeous images.

    • Mia McPherson June 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      Thanks carol, those chicks sure are cute!

Comments are closed.