There were plenty of Western Grebes to be seen and photographed yesterday morning at Bear River National Wildlife Refuge and I took tons of images of them. Nine hundred and fifty images to be exact. The young bird above was close to its parents but I was able to get just it in a few frames. The light tip on its bill will fade as the bill grows.
Juvenile Western Grebes are back-brooded by the adults until about 8 weeks or age or slightly longer. This frame shows one chick on the back of the adult and one swimming up to try to join its sibling.
The young Western Grebes have path on their crowns that can change from a yellowish color to reddish with red meaning they are excited about food or from being separated from its parents.
Adult Western Grebes will wing flap while the chicks are riding on it to take a break from back-brooding. The adult will raise its body up…
Then flap its wings and the young will slide down the parent’s back into the water. It is a little hard to see but in this frame one chicks eyes and bill is visible where the wing of the adult joins its body.
Water seems to stimulate the young to defecate and then they try to climb right back onto the adults back or the back of the other adult. I had hoped to see the adults feed these chicks yesterday to capture that behavior but they didn’t feed them at all while I photographed this family of grebes.
I had a great time with these grebes yesterday morning. I also photographed more Virginia Rails, herons, gulls, egrets, wrens and one Long-tailed Weasel.
Life is good.