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. Clark’s Grebes and their young are fascinating subjects to watch and photograph.



  1. Patty Chadwick April 24, 2014 at 5:36 pm

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

  2. Eileen April 13, 2014 at 4:37 am

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

  3. Jolanta April 12, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Mom and baby! Cute 🙂

  4. Wally April 11, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    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. Dave Sparks April 11, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Beautiful birds. Wonderful photos.

  6. Elephant's Child April 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    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. Sarah Mayhew April 11, 2014 at 11:53 am

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

  8. Sherry in MT April 11, 2014 at 9:29 am

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

  9. Stu April 11, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Aww. wonderful pictures.. a family outing..

  10. Montanagirl April 11, 2014 at 6:30 am

    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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