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Horned Grebe

Podiceps auritus

Also known as “Slavonian Grebe”, the Horned Grebe breeds in vegetated areas of freshwater lakes across Europe and Asia. It also breeds in remote inland areas of the United States and much of Canada. In winter they move to coastal areas of the continents where they summer. In North America they can be found after breeding inland, on the Pacific Coast  in the west, and the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and southeastern USA in the east.

I met my first Horned Grebe in Fairbanks Alaska in 2005. Later I enjoyed watching them fish in the shallow waters of south San Diego Bay nearer my home base in California. These birds undergo quite a dramatic transformation between summer and winter. The bold rich coloring and the horns of summer fade into blacks, whites and grays in winter, but they never lose those bright ruby red eyes.

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