This grebe admitted from Port Alberni had a quick stay at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre and was happily returned to the water. PHOTO SUBMITTED

WILD ‘N FREE: Red-necked grebe has short stay at recovery centre

The bird was found on the ground in a lumber yard in Port Alberni

  • May. 28, 2017 11:00 a.m.

Sylvia Campbell

Special to the News

The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre admitted a red-necked grebe from Port Alberni on Sunday, May 21 after the bird was found on the ground in a lumber yard. The grebe did not have any significant injuries, so it was fed and observed for a couple of days and then returned to the water.

The red-necked grebe is a nearly circumpolar inhabitant of northern waters. In North America, it winters on northern Atlantic and Pacific coastlines. It moves inland to breed on small lakes and other suitable water bodies in the northern prairies, western parklands, and forests, north to near tree line. It is a large, highly pugnacious (aggressive) grebe that takes a variety of aquatic prey with its robust bill. North American and east Asian red-necked grebes are larger than their counterparts in Europe and western Asia.

On its breeding lakes, this boldly marked grebe betrays its presence with frequent raucous calls. It is territorial and interspecifically aggressive, commonly threatening or making underwater attack dives against other water birds that enter its breeding territory. Outside of migration, it is rarely seen in flight, spending most of its time swimming and diving. Away from breeding areas, it is generally quiet and unobtrusive, although groups of spring migrants may engage in calling and courtship at stopover areas.

Red-necked grebes have elaborate courtship rituals, but many individuals arrive on their breeding grounds already paired, and their early pair-formation displays are only infrequently observed on breeding lakes. Pairs cooperate in territorial defense, nesting activities and rearing of young.

Nest building often begins as soon as grebes arrive on breeding lakes, with nest-building activity peaking in May throughout most of their range. Nests are completed in as little as one day, with one- to 14-day delays from initiation of nest-building to laying of the first egg, depending on the number of platforms built and amount of agonistic interaction with neighboring pairs.

Incubation is nearly continuous. If disturbed, adults typically cover their eggs with wet nest material before leaving, presumably to conceal eggs. Covering eggs also may protect them from cooling or overheating in the sun. Length of incubation bouts is highly variable; shorter bouts during hot weather.

Parents carry their newly hatched young on their backs, where they are brooded and fed until they learn to swim and dive on their own.

Wild ‘n Free is written by Sylvia Campbell, NIWRA co-founder and can be reached at Mark NIWRA Family Day on your calendar June 17th.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LOOK BACK: A journey of time in Port Alberni

Take a peek at Port Alberni’s history with the Alberni Valley Museum

QUINN’S QUIPS: I was raised a reader, and I’m passing it on

Alberni Valley News’ editor shares memories of reading to her niece

ALBERNI GOLF: Nielson leads the way in men’s golf

Sunday, Sept. 27 will be an 18-hole two-man alternate shot event

ARTS AROUND: Grandmother and grandson team up for art exhibit in Port Alberni

This will be Pam Turner’s first art show in 17 years.

Ucluelet mayor criticizes province’s lack of communication as highway closures resume

Daily closures return to only highway in and out of Tofino-Ucluelet

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Transgender B.C. brothers debut fantasy novel as author duo Vincent Hunter

‘Transgender people are being misrepresented in popular fiction and media, and we aim to change that’

‘Won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving:’ Trudeau says COVID-19 2nd wave underway

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Most Read