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Waterfowl identification quiz

Posted on Feb 10, 2014

In this very cold winter season we have been finding a lot of waterfowl concentrated in any areas with open water. As ice takes over nearly every pond, creek, river or lake – even much of the Great Lakes – these birds have to find a hole in these blocks or move to the south. This bird was one of thousands of gulls, ducks, loons, grebes, scoters and more in an unfrozen patch of Lake Erie. Can you identify it?


You can barely see the bird’s eye as it rests with bill tucked in. Examine the color patterns on the head, neck, breast, wings and body while looking at the overall size and shape of the bird. I’ll give you a hint – it is not especially common or particularly rare.

Here’s another view…


What a bill, huh?! Remember that of course this bird is in winter plumage…any ideas? If not I’ll give you one last hint – take a look at what you can see of its neck and the hint of color remaining. It’s faintly orange and red.

That’s right, it is a Red-necked Grebe! We have even had one not too far from RTPI at the Celoron Boat Launch. Keep checking all the open water you can find some exciting surprises.


Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator

Photos © Twan Leenders