Gregory’s Baby BookBy Gregory Grebe, as told to Ellen Lambeth; photos by Donald M. Jones
Peek through some pages from Gregory Grebe’s first photo album.
FACT: Grebes (GREEBZ) are birds that swim and dive, but they’re not ducks. Seven kinds of grebes live in the United States.
Check out Mom over there, stepping up to my “nursery.” That’s the nest she and Dad made from wetland plants before I hatched. See how it floats right on the water? Those green, growing stems help hold it in place. A nest in shallow water is safer than a nest on land, where hungry creatures could more easily sneak in for an egg.
See Mom’s huge feet? They make great flippers for a grebe–as webbed feet do for a duck!
I’m not just any kind of grebe–I’m an eared grebe. When I grow up, I’ll have a set of “ears” like the ones on my parents. They’re not really ears, of course–just tufts of fine, golden feathers.
That’s me, Gregory, riding high on Mom. My sister, Greta, is admiring her reflection in the water. She’s not as cute as I am, but don’t tell her I said so.
FACT: Both parents take turns carrying the chicks on their backs the first week after hatching.
Yay, that’s Dad bringing us some grub! Sorry, Greta, but this big, juicy insect is for ME! You get dibs on the next treat Dad brings. I just hope you’re as lucky as I am!
FACT: Eared grebes live in western North America. They also live in other parts of the world, where they’re called black-necked grebes.
Hey, what’s the big idea? Mom just slid Greta and me off her back, right into the water! I’m sure she didn’t mean to. It’s just what happens when she sits up to stretch her wings. We can just climb back on or catch a ride on Dad.
FACT: A grebe’s toes have lobes on the sides. Their paddle-like shape helps push through the water.
I’m getting used to swimming now instead of riding piggyback. Greta has gone off somewhere with Dad, while Mom takes care of me here. I think this leech will hit the spot for lunch, don’t you?
How do you like my new outfit? Gone are my stripy face and the spots of bare skin on my head. You may think I look boring now. But just wait till I get my bright red eyes and fancy grownup feathers–golden “ears” and all! As you can see when I stretch out my leg, I already have big feet–just like Mom’s!
“Gregory’s Baby Book” originally appeared in the June/July 2015 issue of Ranger Rick magazine.
(Click on each image above for a closer view of the story.)