Horned Grebe

February 19, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Welcome to all of my new friends who have recently joined the blog and thanks to all who have been part of this from day one. For those who don't know me, I grew up in Bessemer, Michigan (yes, I am a Yooper). I have spent the past decades residing in Northern Wisconsin near Chequamegon Bay where in recent years I have embarked on a personal mission to showcase our wonderful area wildlife and delicate ecosystems. I spend countless hours capturing the images you see here and now with your help, we are reaching out to share this. If you know of anyone that would enjoy receiving these posts, please share with them. Okay...So maybe you still don't know much about me, but we need to move on to todays "Photo of the Day".

When I first came face to face with a Horned Grebe, It was like looking into the eye of an alien (which I have seen many of, because remember...I am a Yooper). This crazy little bird is one of the most amazing looking creatures I have seen.

The timing of the Horned Grebes migration depends largely on the weather - this species may not leave it's breeding grounds until they ice over, nor will it return until the ice melts. This Grebe's so-called "horns" are in fact, yellowish feather patches located behind it's eyes which it can raise at will.

Cool Facts

  • Like most grebes, the small chicks of the Horned Grebe frequently ride on the backs of their swimming parents. The young ride between the wings on the parent's back, and may even go underwater with them during dives.
  • The Horned Grebe regularly eats some of its own feathers, enough that its stomach usually contains a matted plug of them. This plug may function as a filter or may hold fish bones in the stomach until they can be digested. The parents even feed feathers to their chicks to get the plug started early.
  • A sleeping or resting Horned Grebe puts its neck on its back with its head off to one side and facing forward. It keeps one foot tucked up under a wing and uses the other one to maneuver in the water. Having one foot up under a wing makes it float with one "high" side and one "low" side.

A male bird showing off it's "horns" and bright red eye:

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A resting pair with the female on the left side of the image keeping a watchful eye:

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