Body of water…. a wet concrete sidewalk…..sure, there’s a difference, but many eared grebes aren’t seeing it these days.
The International Bird Rescue (IBR) reports that its San Pedro facility is taking care of 50 grebes, twice the amount of these migratory coastal birds they usually see this year – and no one knows why.
A diving bird that hurls itself into the water to snag a snack, many grebes are mistaking other smooth landscapes for ocean waters. So far, grebes have been rescued from a runway at LAX, a Malibu front yard, the intersection of Wilshire and Centinela in Santa Monica, the Ventura County Fairgrounds, and other non-aquatic locales.
Once they hit the ground, grebes are so shaken up, they can’t fly and end up dragging themselves along the pavement, a very unsafe place for crash-landed birds.
Eared grebes are the smallest diving birds and are migrating now to southwest United States and into Mexico – they travel as far as 3,700 miles a season. In addition to its high flying prowess, grebes have lobed feet far back in their bodies which make them excellent swimmers. One place they aren’t suited for is dry land.
Right now, bird lovers are adopting the grounded grebes at the IBR since it’s very labor intensive to treat these grapefruit-sized flyers. So far, the Port of Los Angeles has adopted the first 10 grebe patients.
Interested? It’s only $50 to sponsor a patient eared grebe.