Grebes with Chicks

If you’re too late to watch the rehearsals and the courtship, it’s always fun to stick around and watch the Clark’s Grebes with their chicks. I was fascinated when I saw this mother (for the sake of this narrative I’m assuming that the first grebe was the mother and the second was the father) trying to herd two chicks. First she followed the one that went to the left,


but almost instantly changed her mind, following the one on the right, instead, as the two chicks got further apart.


The chick on the right swam toward the mother, apparently content to be close to her.


After catching up with that chick, the mother vocalized several times quite distinctly.


Unfortunately, I understand Horned Grebes but not Clark’s Grebes, so I’m not sure if she was calling to the other chick or to the other parent. I do know that the chick with her started vocalizing right afterwards.


It didn’t take long before the presumed dad was tending to the chick that had swam away from the mother.


Apparently satisfied that the problem had been solved, the mother and the other chick snuggled up to each other.


It’s hard not to anthromorphise birds we observe, but it seemed pretty clear that these parents were as concerned for their wandering young as any of us would be.