Tuesday, July 31, 2012

San Francisco Bay Area Seabirds, Western Grebe

San Francisco Bay Area Bird Watching
SeaBirds of Marin, SF Bay and Gulf of the Farallones

Western Grebe

Photographed from a small Zodiac, off Yellow Bluffs, Sausalito shorline. San Francisco Bay

Western Grebe Scientific classification
  • Western Grebe Kingdom: Animalia
  • Western Grebe Phylum: Chordata
  • Western Grebe Class: Aves
  • Western Grebe Podicipediformes
  • Western Grebe Family: Podicipedidae
  • Western Grebe Genus: Aechmophorus
  • Western Grebe Species: A. occidentalis
Western GrebeBinomial name
  • Aechmophorus occidentalis
This is the largest North American grebe 56-74 cm (22"-29") long. It is black-and-white, with a long, slender, swan-like neck and red eyes.
Western Grebes nest in colonies of hundreds on large inland lakes, sometimes using coastal marshes, in western North America. It has a spectacular courtship display; two birds will rear up and patter across the water's surface. Northern birds migrate west to coastal ocean in winter; birds in the southwest and Mexico may be permanent residents.
Western Grebes were profoundly affected by the Nov. 7, 2008 oil spill and the following sewage spills in Marin County. Many of the oiled birds died. The oiled birds died from toxicity, starvation and hypothermia. Many helpers worked to save as many birds as possible. The oil was toxic to humans too. It was an interesting time of a cross between the animal and human cohabitation because the birds really needed human intervention.


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