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.