Pied-Billed Grebes

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There are certain birds that give me dinosaur vibes more than others, and pied-billed grebes are definitely one of them. Specifically, they remind me of one featured in BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs: Spirits of the Ice Forest called Leaellynasaura. Seeing this bird next to that tiny dino is all the proof I need about where the dinosaurs went!

Finding Pied-Billed Grebes

I was lucky enough to have a trio of grebes move into my local pond for the winter. If you aren’t as lucky and still want to see some grebes, look for them on small ponds with thick vegetation or marshes. Normally they are alone, but during the winter they can be found in groups and on larger bodies of water.

What Do Pied-Billed Grebes Do All Day?

In my limited experience with these birds, the thing they are best at is evading my lens at every chance. At any given moment, the grebes may plunge underwater, with very little clue as to where they might pop up next. Honestly, if you told me these birds went to Narnia every time they dived, I’d believe you.

The grebes also have the ability to go into what I’ve called “Ogopogo mode”. Essentially, they have the ability to “adjust their buoyancy and often use this ability to float with just the upper half of the head above the water.”

As evident in the third picture posted here, the grebes can somewhat run on water. Unfortunately, I didn’t see what triggered the bird to do this, but it did go from one end of the pond to the other three separate times. I was underprepared all three times.

Conservation Status

While pied-billed grebes aren’t concerning people now, people do need to be mindful of their habitats to ensure that these birds have a future.

Wildlife Species Canada has determined that the number of pied-billed grebes has increased since the 1970s, but there have been fluctuations. Furthermore, wetland losses are bad news for this species, but at this time remain unquantified.

Pied-Billed Grebe, November 23, 2021
Pied-Billed Grebe, November 23, 2021
Pied-Billed Grebe, November 19, 2021