Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe aka. American Dabchick aka. Dabchick aka. Carolina Grebe aka. Devil-diver aka. Dive-dapper aka. Dipper aka. Hell-diver aka. Pied-billed Dabchick aka. Pied-bill aka. Thick-billed Grebe, aka. Water Witch
Lake Chabot, Castro Valley, California, USA
April 2016
Member of the Grebe Family
§A Water Dance of Grebes§

{Etymology Corner} We don't usually editorialize here at amateurnithologist (least of all in the Etymology Corner), but come on people who name Grebes, get it together. Look at that list of names up there, just look at it. Hell Diver? Water Witch?? Anyway, the Pied-billed Grebe has the latin name PODICIPEDIFORMES, which basically means Butt Feet. Which is true, the feet really are very far back on the bird in this case. It helps make her an expert swimmer, but she looks rather awkward on land.

~true bird fact~ Eats a great amount of her own feathers. At any time a Pied-billed Grebes belly might be as much as half full of feathers. Does she do this because she's an idiot? No, she does not. It is believed that the stomach feathers make a kind of biological sieve, which keeps sharp or hard parts of the crustaceans she eats from entering and damaging her intestines.

Plays the standing harp
Even if you really don't believe in the supernatural, you have a feeling that this bird has a bit of magical powers to it
Unclear, but seemingly beneficent, motives
Makes a lot of complaints to managers

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