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This Week’s Creature Feature: Visiting Red-necked Grebe

This bird is not a duck

      For birders, each season brings a different group. In the winter, ice and snow will force the hardiest birds south, making January and February the best months to see rare waterfowl.
     Take this red-necked grebe, for example. In the summer, they nest around the small lakes of Canada. When the Great Lakes freeze over, an occasional bird will sneak down to the Chesapeake. 
     Grebes eat fish and crayfish, diving for as long as 10 minutes while fishing and escaping predators. Unlike web-footed ducks, grebes have three broad, lobed toes to help them dive. Their wings propel them underwater as well as in air.
This winter, several have been seen in the Ocean City area. Now and again they can be seen along the shore of the South River, where I saw this one, and Chesapeake Beach. 
     Pronounce their name as one syllable, greeb, not gree-be.