"Just To Be Noticed"
How would you like it if every time you went looking for a good-looking chick you received a 'mark' of some kind, so everyone noticed? That's what happens in the bird world, and the birds hope those who notice are females. Marks come in the spring, like color enhancement, feather length, aggressiveness, wild athletic antics, and so on. Birds have a magical chemical change inside their body that makes this happen. The Pied-billed Grebe is a good example of a change, for its 'mark' is a black stripe on the bill. You think that's weird? How about guys who shave, use aftershave lotion, brush teeth, put on deodorant, comb their hair, wear clean socks and clean clothes who want to be noticed. And the gals who use mirrors (the bigger the better) to help with makeup, dress styles, hair arrangement, and movement gestures to generate the perfect impression. Maybe we are all a little bit weird when we want to be noticed.
I look for Pied-billed Grebes year round. They are less social than most species of grebes and rarely found in flocks. So if you look really good when there are birds on a body of water, there just might be one among them. When disturbed, Pied-billed Grebes dive headfirst under water, or they sink slowly into the water until only their heads are above water (like submarine periscopes). Another weird grebe thing: They will eat and feed their own feathers to their young. This behavior is probably to help them regurgitate bones and other non-digestible parts of their diet.
Today you will find Pied-billed Grebes on open, fresh water. Their 'mark' will not be present until spring, but they will be low in the water with preferable space around them. Good luck hunting.
Judy Warren is the artist this week. Her picture is drawn with watermedia and pencil.
For complete information about birds, in just a few days time, plan to attend the upcoming St. George Winter Bird Festival January 27, 28, 29, 30, 2011. Call 435 673-0996 or check it out at www.sgcity.org/birdfestival or on this web site.