Horned Grebe - Podiceps auritus

Two weeks ago, I worked on preparing a Horned Grebe for the Field Museum collections. It had been found on the beach here in Chicago. No doubt it had been on its way north to breeding grounds in Canada, and up towards Alaska. It was in non-breeding plumage, meaning not what you see depicted here. It had a white breast and neck, and the rest of it was a dark, smokey brown. April through August, both male and female Horned Grebes acquire a much bolder, and warmer color palette. Grebes belong to the family Podicipedidae. They forage for food by diving, and build floating nests on marshy ponds. Their feet are lobed, and they have tiny, almost nonexistent tails.

*the grebe painting is now available in the Store.


  1. Talk of this bird in mating plumage reminds me of something John and I saw at the Botanic Gardens a couple weeks ago that I've been meaning to ask you about.

    Two swans (both stark white) were swimming around in the little brook near the main building. One mounted the other, and of course thought, oh spring -- look at the lovers.

    But the dominant swan kept pushing the mounted swan's head into the water, and holding it there, as part of this ritual.

    We had to wonder: sex? fighting? both acts together?

    Any insights you might pass along?

    Thanks, lady!

  2. (just to correct the typo in the 2nd paragraph above: *We* thought . . . not the mounting swan thought) :-)

  3. Your work is beautiful! Such a wonderful talent! Really lovely work, lovely blog

  4. Thank you for the kind words!

    And Christy, I got you covered via the email ; )

  5. How neat that would be to see in the real thing. Thanks for sharing your lovely picture.


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