[Tweeters] Re: Western Grebe vocalizing, Lake Havasu, AZ

Martin Muller martinmuller at msn.com
Fri Nov 1 16:22:03 PDT 2013

I find Hank Karen's video of the vocalizing Western Grebe very interesting. A couple of questions about the circumstances: A) was there another bird the vocalization was directed towards? B) If there was, was the other bird carrying food when this bird approached it?

From my Pied-billed Grebe observations in the past I get the distinct impression that what Hank caught on disk is a young-of-the-year bird food begging and assuming a submissive posture while approaching an adult with food (partially submerging the neck and splashing water with exaggerated shallow or surface strokes of the feet while pointing the bill up - somewhat-). This is not the food-begging behavior of a female soliciting courtship feeding by a male.

I tried to check my hunch by reading the appropriate sections of the Western Grebe account of The Birds of North America Online (Storer, R. W. and G. L. Nuechterlein. 1992. Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/026a) but to my surprise there was nothing on this type of behavior or the vocalization in the account.

Has anyone ever watched almost independent (6-8 weeks old) Western Grebe young perform this type of behavior on the breeding grounds?

Martin Muller, Seattle
martinmuller at msn.com

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