Bryan found this injured red-necked grebe in a parking lot in Stouffville on a cold evening this November.
Being in a parking lot is very unusual for a grebe. They cannot walk on land, so if they aren’t swimming or flying there’s something wrong.
Each winter Toronto Wildlife Centre admits many grebes. Some especially bad winters recently, when the Great Lakes froze over almost completely, it forced mass migration as birds desperately searched for open water; which they also needed to hunt for fish. With few options for that winter, many became weak, crash landed, and ended up at TWC.
Some grebes even mistake shiny, icy or wet patches on pavement for water and are met with an unpleasant surprise when they collide with the hard ground.
Grebes eat by diving under water to catch fish, crustaceans, and aquatic insects. They will catch their prey while swimming or pluck things from the bottoms of plants.
In care we do the best we can to create a natural feeding situation.
This grebe’s wing was x-rayed and bandaged, and supportive care including pain medication was provided while the fracture healed.
On December 12th, she was happily released back into the wild again!
Will you consider a donation to help feed the many diving birds and other wild patients that will be admitted to Toronto Wildlife Centre this winter?
P.S. Click here to see a video of the grebe’s return to the wild!