Video of Week: Baby Pied-billed Grebe

This baby Pied-billed Grebe has been with us a couple of weeks. It came to us when it was only a day or so old. It is growing fast and weighed 34 grams this morning. Its
current home is an incubator in ICU at IBRRC’s Fairfield, CA bird center.

In the wild baby grebes will take short swims and then climb onto their mothers back for warmth and protections. This bird spends much of the time snuggling into a soft feather duster when not swimming. A small mirror placed next to the feather duster allows him to see himself, thereby socializing with another grebe.

During the day the chick is fed in its own small pool where we feed him tiny pieces of smelt and live minnows. When it is put into the pool, the chick immediately defecates, just as it would in the wild, when it would jump off his parent’s back and into the water. He swims around and is fed.

Soon it will be allowed to swim in larger and colder pools and eventually move to outside pools once our rehabilitation staff determines that its ready to move outside. Once the bird is deemed releasable it will be federally banded and released into the Suisun Marsh.

The Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps, order: Podicipediformes, Family: Podicipedidae) is a pelagic bird, spending all of its life in the water.