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Red-necked Grebe
December 20, 2018 by Haya Aldoori

Early on a Saturday morning, the participants in our “Winter Bird Count for Kids” walked through the many trails in High Park and made their way down to Grenadier Pond in search of as many birds as they could find. While looking out over the water, scanning the pond with their eyes, the group noticed something swimming in the distance. As they brought their binoculars up to their eyes, they realized that the bird they were seeing was a Red-necked Grebe! Colorful and noisy, with a very “stand out” presence during their breeding season, these aquatic birds seem almost completely different in the winter time. They look more gray and are more silent! With feet that are located far back on their bodies, they are pretty clumsy on land and are much more comfortable in the water where they can swim and dive, while looking for fish, crustaceans, and other small aquatic organisms. An interesting thing about Red-necked Grebes, and other grebes as well, is that they consume their own feathers. The reasons behind this behaviour and the role of these feathers in their stomachs are still unknown. However, one hypothesis is that the feathers help protect their lower digestive tract from bones and other hard, indigestible material. Keep an eye out for Red-necked Grebes, or any other interesting waterfowl at Grenadier Pond or other local bodies of water!

Red-necked Grebe
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