The Fox River in downtown Waukesha Wisconsin has been pretty exciting with duck species the last couple of weeks and now Grebe species are showing up too. A striking Horned Grebe did some diving for food and gave some nice views this morning. A couple of Pied-billed Grebes gave distant views while I was there too. Duck species present today were Common Goldeneye (m-f), Red-breasted Mergansers (f), Scaups, Ring-necked (m-f) Bufflehead and American Coots. A sunny day, but the wind made for a cold one. Photographs taken on March 29, 2014.
Binomial name: Podiceps auritus
Size: 14” long, 18” wing span
Weight: 1 lb.
Habitat: Breeds on small to medium sized, vegetated areas of shallow freshwater ponds and marshes. The breeding range is from northern central US north to northern regions of Canada and Alaska.
Diet: In summer mostly feed on aquatic insects which they get off the top of the water. They also eat crustaceans which they get diving under water. In winter their diet includes fish, crustacean and small aquatic animals.
Nesting: The nest is a pile of wet plant material that is floating or sometimes on a rock. It is an open bowl and located near the water’s edge as this since the grebe legs are back far and they cannot walk well. The female lays 3-7 eggs white to light brown or light blue-green. The young are feed by both parents and can swim and dive usually the next day after hatching. The young often ride on the back of the parents back like loons do.
Cool Facts: This grebe eats some of its own feathers and they sit in their stomach and act as a filter and hold fish bones and other things till they are digested. One of the smaller grebes that is an excellent diver and swimmer that can stay under water for very long periods of time.