Head On Western Grebe Adult

Head on Western GrebeHead on Western Grebe – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

My friends Amy and Bruce Barker saw a Western Grebe at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge a few days ago and that has gotten me excited, I always miss the grebes during the winter. It won’t be long and the grebes will be rushing, courting and beginning to build their nests. I’ve always thought that both Clark’s and Western Grebes are elegant looking birds with the black and white plumage and cherry red eyes.

I took this photo way back in 2010 at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge from the auto tour loop, the Western Grebe was close up and I felt I had to take a photo of it when it faced me head on. The black around those cherry red eyes sure made them stand out!

I can’t wait to see these grebes again and listen to them calling to each other and this year I also hope to photograph them while they are rushing or performing their “Weed Ceremony”, or both.

Life is good.


A few Western Grebe facts:

  • Western Grebes are large black and white grebes with cherry-red eyes that breed in lakes and ponds in the western North America.
  • They our largest grebe in North America being only fractionally larger than Clark’s Grebes.
  • The Western Grebe, like other grebes, spends almost all its time in water and is very awkward when on land.
  • Western Grebes often nest in colonies that can number in the hundreds or even thousands.
  • Western Grebes are migratory in much of their range and will winter off of the Pacific Coast.
  • Folk names for Western Grebes include Dabchick, Swan-necked Grebe and Swan Grebe.
  • A group of grebes is called a “water dance” of grebes.
  • They lay between 1 to 7 eggs which take 23 to 24 days to hatch. Both parents incubate.
  • Western Grebes can live to be 15 years old.


  1. Pepe Forte March 29, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    Imagine yourself 80 million years ago and a T-Rex is bearing down on you with those eyes sizing you up for dinner! Yikes!

    Great pic. The grebe is such an interesting bird and your narrative brings it all to life. Thanks Mia.

  2. Elephants Child March 27, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Not a bird I would care to cross. Definitely a bird I would love to see. And proof positive that ‘red-eye’ in photography is not always a bad thing.

  3. Marty K March 27, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Man, he looks pissed! Such an amazing shot, Mia!

  4. Utahbooklover March 27, 2018 at 9:11 am

    Those eyes do look alien, as sallie noted. Yes, great image we agree. And thanks for the Grebe facts too.

  5. sallie reynolds March 27, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Now I KNOW birds are from Mars! Great photo.

  6. Patty Chadwick March 27, 2018 at 7:34 am

    That is one WILD looking bird!!! Great photo!!!

  7. Liz Cormack March 27, 2018 at 7:14 am

    Oh, my, what a spectacular photo.

  8. Bob mcpherson March 27, 2018 at 7:14 am

    Nice photo, Mia

Comments are closed.