Diving fast and deep into the water searching for its prey; crawfish, snails, tadpoles, worms and even leeches these “water witches” are not demons, but rather a strange type of bird called the Grebe.
This strange bird that some may call a duck is actually pretty fascinating. These birds do all of their feeding, sleeping and nesting on the water, when a family of grebes gets hungry they dive so fast that they often startle observers who call them the “Water witches”. Grebes can dive fast and down to six meters (19.8)ft in depth. When little downy chicks first try to dive they bounce back up out of the water like ping pong balls, of course it only takes a few days for these little chicks to become master divers.
Grebes can be found nesting on small bodies of fresh waters all across the world and over twelve species just in North America. They range in size from 33cm (13in) in length up to the size of a large swan. Female grebes usually lay two to six eggs in their floating nest, both parents incubate the eggs until they are hatched. When chicks are born they climb onto the mothers back to keep warm, doing so also helps to protect them against predators like the snapping turtle. The grebe can fly but usually doesn’t unless trying to avoid a predator or when migrating south in the winter. These grebes aren’t very good on land so they spend most of their lives on the water. They are excellent swimmers although they do not use their wings as expected; instead they have lobed feet that help them swim with great ease.
Grebes are not witches but rather another interesting creature we share our home with, or perhaps they are the ones who share with us. So keep you eye out this spring they maybe at a pond near you…