Saturday, October 16, 2021

Horned Grebe

About the only other bird of interest that Erika and I saw during our 9 October 2021 eBird Big Day Count was this Horned Grebe seen at Capitol Lake in Olympia. Red eyes found on many diving waterfowl apparently are not visible under a few feet of water. Apparently this adaptation makes the eyes hard for prey to see and thereby recognize the approaching predator. In the first photo, notice the individually webbed toes present on grebes. Grebes are not closely related to ducks. According to Winkler et al. (2020), grebes have traditionally thought to most closely related to loons. Recent studies, however, conclude that grebes and flamingos are each other’s closest relative. This conclusion is so surprising that many ornithologists have been slow to adopt the new classification.

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