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.