Horned Grebe
Podiceps auritus
Feb. 2, 2014

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to photograph the release of two immature horned grebes (Podiceps auritus) from Robin Graboski's Centre Wildlife Care (CWC).

First, though, let me show you a mature couple (with the male in the lead) that I photographed at Toftrees pond. Horned grebes are small waterbirds (less than half the size of a mallard, for example) and always a challenge to photograph.

Horned grebe pair

The release at the State College duck pond went very well. The two horned grebes left their "crate" with little coaxing. They stayed together the entire time we watched them.
Two immature horned grebes

I have a complete photo sequence of the release on CWC's Facebook page, which is available for everyone.

What had struck me in particular was the grebes' sense of pleasure in being in open water, such as this one charging. If you scroll across the entire image, please remember that a grebe doesn't have webbed feet but three flattened toes. How did the horned grebe manage to create such a huge wake?

Immature horned grebe having fun

On another CWC Facebook page (also open to everyone), I have a full series of the antics of the two horned grebes - and their fun on the pond.

Photo note: I used a Pentax K20D, with the a long telephoto lens in April 2011 for the first photo and with the Pentax SMC-DA* 60-250mm lens for the final two photos.

My Pennsylvania bird list

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