Grebes Make Surprise Landings In Southwest Wyoming

Nov 17, 2014

A horned grebe photographed in Alberta.
Credit Wikipedia

A number of migrating horned grebes found themselves grounded in southwestern Wyoming last week. The small waterbirds spend summers in Canada and Alaska and winters in the southeastern United States, but a handful of them almost didn’t make it this year, after they ended up stranded on lawns, tennis courts and streets in Green River. As Green River Game and Fish office manager Regina Dickson explained, the birds can only take off from water.

“They’re basically like a fish out of water when they land on the solid ground.” Sheila Watts also works in the Green River Game and Fish office. She says a number of concerned citizens called into the office about "injured" birds that turned out not to be injured. “When I went and got the first bird, I could tell it was lively, it was fine, it was trying to peck at me," she says. "So we brought it back and just took our chances and put it back in the river and it swan away. It was a happy little bird.”

If you find a grebe out of water, Game and Fish recommends putting it back, if it can be done safely, or calling the department.