Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Immature Pied-billed Grebe

Soon it will be time to start seeing youngsters again, like this immature pied-billed grebe that I photographed at Crex Meadows. Currently pied-billed grebes are just returning to the area. In the next month they will begin to build their nest. Both male and female work to build the nest, which is bowl shaped and made of vegetation. Nests are usually built on floating platforms of vegetation, which helps keep them from some predators, and attached to cattails to prevent them from floating away.
Once the nest is complete the female will begin to lay eggs one per day. The typical grebe will lay between 3 to 8 eggs. The female incubates the eggs until she has completed laying then both male and female take turns incubating them. It takes about 23 days for the eggs to begin to hatch. The down covered chicks can leave the nest shortly after hatching, however they can not swim very well so they typically spend most of their first week of life on the backs of their parents. By about four weeks they are fairly self sufficient and look like the bird in the pics above.


Kay L. Davies said...

A month-old grebe is a wonderful sight, at once so innocent and so inquiring. Delightful photos, thank you for sharing them with us!
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Karen said...

Great shots of a very sweet little bird.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

He is all downy and new looking -- like he can't quite figure out where he is or why! Wonderful picture and what a pleasure to watch them grow.