Oh great. Now grebes?!

7 03 2013
Horned Grebe found on Cape Cod by Mary Myers.

Horned Grebe found on Cape Cod by Mary Myers.

We are still in the throes of a sizeable Razorbill die-off, and a smaller, though still notable puffin mortality event, and yet it now appears we might have yet another unusual data blip. In the past three weeks, we’ve have five Horned Grebe carcasses turn up on SEANET beaches in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. This is a bit out of the ordinary; we generally get a sporadic report or two in an entire year, and sometimes not even that. Not a single Horned Grebe was reported to SEANET in 2012. Whether this event will continue, and whether it will approach truly alarming proportions cannot be determined just yet. This is about the time grebes are migrating away from their wintering waters along the coast and flying by night toward their nesting ponds in western Canada and Alaska. Reports to eBird.org show Horned Grebes disappearing from the east coast right around now, and then by summer, nary a grebe is in sight. We may be seeing this uptick in mortality simply because the birds are on the move, though why we wouldn’t then see it every year, I don’t know.

Frequency of Horned Grebes in birding lists from Massachusetts.

Frequency of Horned Grebes in birding lists from Massachusetts. (ebird.org)

We’ve also had a single report from Dan Tracey, (who walks the same beach I do in Salisbury, MA) of a Red-necked Grebe: a larger species, with a yellowish bill, and, from the looks of this picture, sometimes yellow feet as well. This bird seems more of a one off event so far at least, but as ever, we are keeping a weather eye on the horizon for the next big thing in dead birds.

If you’ve found a dead bird, and you are either not a Seanetter, or the bird was not found on an official SEANET walk, please report it to the Wildlife Health Event Reporter! It only takes a moment to set up an account, it’s free, and you will be helping us keep tabs on these mortalities.

Red-necked Grebe found by Dan Tracey.

Red-necked Grebe found by Dan Tracey.

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18 03 2013
Dead Bird Quiz answers: geeked out for skeletal anatomy! | SEANET Blog

[…] apparatus. Bird A is too small to be a loon, which made me think it may be a grebe. I know I have grebes on the brain, but I really can’t find another way around that  that leg anatomy, if I am oriented […]

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