grounded Red-necked Grebes

Dave Martin dave.martin at
Tue Jan 20 13:11:45 EST 2004

Ross Snider of Tamarack Raptor Rehab Centre in Ingersoll has received two 
calls on grounded Red-necked Grebes in the past couple of days.  The first 
was a bird grounded in Listowel on Jan 17.  The bird had to be 
euthanized.  The second bird was a picked up in Stratford on Jan 19 and 
released into Trout Creek which stays open in winter and is downstream from 
Wildwood Dam near Stratford.

These groundings are consistent with calls Ross has received over the years 
in mid to late January when the upper Great Lakes start to freeze, which 
depends, of course, on prolonged cold spells and varies from year to year 
and sometimes not at all.   In the October 2003 OFO News, Ron Tozer wrote 
about this phenomena and attributed the grounding of  Red-necked Grebes in 
early winter (Dec to early Feb) to the "frozen out theory".  The reasoning 
behind this theory is that some Red-necked Grebes overwinter on the upper 
great lakes, likely away from shore or in previously unknown 
locations.   When the lakes begin to freeze they leave in desperation and 
fly in almost any direction to look for open water. Many are grounded on 
land when they run out of steam  and are often found on roads and parking 
lots which they may mistake for water. Enough have been noted over the 
years [a few most winters and many some winters] to stimulate Ron's recent 
article, but as he states, there is not yet enough quantitative evidence to 
solve this mystery.

Dave Martin/Ross Snider
Harrietsville, ON
dave.martin at

Dave Martin <dave.martin at>

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