Pied-billed Grebe Pair Build A Nest

by Larry Jordan on July 25, 2009

pied-billed grebe, grebe, nestbuilding

Pied-billed Grebe Pair Buiding A Platform Nest photos by Larry Jordan

The Pied-billed Grebe has the widest distribution of any grebe in the Americas and I found this pair at Lema Ranch.  They had just begun building this platform nest a few weeks ago, around the first of July.  I watched as they brought plant material up from the lake bottom and added on to the nest, bit by bit.  Both the male and the female were building.  I  think the dragonfly was just observing.

pied-billed grebe, grebe, nestbuilding

After thirty to forty minutes spent building this nest, the female decided to try it out for size.  Pied-billed Grebes will build a nest ready for eggs in as little as a day.  Normally however, they will start building 3 to 5 days before egg laying begins.  They will also add to the nest during and after laying as you will see in the more recent nest photos below.

The following photos were taken three weeks later when the pair seemed to be discussing who should be watching the nest.  Both Pied-billed Grebe parents incubate the eggs equally during the day, or sometimes not at all.

pied-billed grebe, grebeb, nestbuilding

Hey what are you doing …

pied-billed grebe, grebe, nestbuilding

it’s your turn to watch the nest …

pied-billed grebe, grebe, nestbuilding

ok, I’ll watch it, you go get something to eat.

pied-billed grebe, grebe, nestbuilding

Note that the nest now has additional plant material that the pair use to cover the eggs during the day when they are not incubating.  This day I observed them, they did not incubate while I was there.

Incubation lasts from 3 to 4 weeks so we should be able to see some hatching in the next week or two.  I am looking forward to seeing the young grebes and watching them as they grow.  To see more great bid photos, check out Bird Photography Weekly!

Thomas July 26, 2009 at 1:43 am

Beautiful series of images Larry, I like the one with the grebe sitting on the nest.
.-= Thomas´s last blog ..Birding in India – Chance sighting of the most handsome Harrier =-.

Mick July 26, 2009 at 11:15 am

A very interesting series of photos, Larry. I hope they manage to raise the young and that you get photos to share with us later. Is the nest totally floating on the water and what keeps it from getting water-logged?
.-= Mick´s last blog ..White-faced Heron. =-.

Eve July 26, 2009 at 4:37 pm

I love it when birds talk and we get to see it!

Tabib July 26, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Lovely grebe photos series. The second pic is my pick.
.-= Tabib´s last blog ..Birding at Madibirder Backyard =-.

Kelly July 27, 2009 at 6:26 am

I love these little birds, and your photos of them are fabulous. I’ve never seen a grebe building a nest. Very cool….I can’t wait to see the chicks after they hatch!

MaineBirder July 27, 2009 at 6:53 am

Excellent photos Larry! Thanks for the information on these wonderful birds.
.-= MaineBirder´s last blog ..BPW: Piping Plovers =-.

Bob K July 27, 2009 at 9:07 am

Great series, Larry! One thing I also noticed with Pied-billeds is that they have such a loud voice for a small bird!
.-= Bob K´s last blog ..A Walk in the Crowds =-.

Amy July 28, 2009 at 8:08 pm

LOL at the observing dragonfly! Very cute series, can’t wait to see the babies.
.-= Amy´s last blog ..T-Shirt Tuesday: Future Birder & Birdwatcher =-.

NicoleB July 29, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Great set of pics!
I’ve never seen anything like this before.
I guess the Dragonfly is the local real estate manager 😉
.-= NicoleB´s last blog ..Field Rabbit, Feldhase, Lepus europeaus =-.

Arija July 30, 2009 at 4:28 am

Beautifully observrd and photographed.
.-= Arija´s last blog ..SkyWatch ~ 44 .The Wide Open Sky. =-.

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