Monday, July 14, 2008

The Splashy Dance: Courting Grebes

Even more exciting than seeing so many Clark's grebes in one place was getting to se a pair of western grebes doing the Splashy Dance. This is the courtship dance these large grebes perform in the spring and early summer. After a bit of synchronized head bobbing and bill dipping and mock preening, a male and female will lift their bodies off the water and scamper across the surface, beating their wings just enough to propel them forward.

This incredible display only lasts a few seconds, but the pair may repeat it several times in a hour. We saw it happen three different times with this one pair of western grebes. This was a life-behavior for me and something I'd always wanted to observe. I only wish I'd had my video camera handy.

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