Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pied-billed Grebe - Cloisters Pond - Morro Bay

 The Pied-billed Grebe - Podilymbus podiceps - (Photo by Mike Baird) is the most widespread Grebe in the New World, nesting from Southern Canada to Argentina.  There is barely a pond, lake, marsh, bay, estuary, or marina that does not have a pair of these stout-billed absolutely adorable divers.  Photo shows the Grebe in breeding plumage.  Most distinguishing marks are white eye ring, and a white bill with a black ring.
 The Pied-billed Grebe forages by diving from the surface; swimming under water propelled by the feet.  Diet consists of fish, and all types of aquatic life.  The above photo was taken mid March; The Grebe is clad in winter plumage.  Perhaps the little darling is a late bloomer.
A few days ago, at Cloisters Pond, noticed a nest in the reeds with a Pied-billed Grebe sitting on it.  The nest built by both sexes, consists of a dense mat of reeds and plant material and is usually situated so that it can be approached under water.  While I was watching the nest another Pied-billed Grebe appeared a few yards out from the nest.  Like magic it disappeared into the water.  A few moments later a little head popped up at the rear of the nest sitting Grebe.  The sitting Grebe moved off the nest into the water and the new sitter slowly and gently settled itself on to the nest.  Photo is of the second sitter settling down on the nest.   The expanded image shows the white eye ring.

Today, I checked on the nesting Grebes.  One Pied-billed Grebe in the water and none on the wet and muddy nest.  To be honest I felt sad, but I am hopeful the potential parents have constructed a new nest in a better location, and within a few weeks adorable young Grebes will be seen floating on Cloisters Pond.
Young Pied-billed Grebe at Cloisters Pond by Mike Baird.  A few seconds before the photo was taken, a gull had grabbed on to the Grebe, but this little defenseless Grebe managed to escape.
 You may find this video of a baby Grebe of interest.


  1. The bird looks as if smiling in the first pic !

    1. Lina, I does look like it is smiling. Good observation.