A dark brown bird with a lighter underbelly, red eyes and a black beak sits in a bathtub.

Mono Lake Moment: There’s an Eared Grebe in my bathtub!

Guess what? It’s not the first time I’ve had a grebe in my bathtub, either! It is the time of year when Eared Grebes are migrating north to breeding grounds along the Pacific Flyway, as far north as Canada. Sometimes grebes mistake swaths of black asphalt for dark water and they attempt to land on a highway or a parking lot. Since they are water dwellers through and through, they can’t get themselves back in the air.

This particular grebe is lucky because a compassionate and knowledgeable Mono Lake Committee staff member, Bartshe, came to his rescue. Bartshe scooped him up into a box and drove him to me, the Lead Naturalist Guide, who handles most of the bird emergencies brought to the Mono Lake Committee’s attention. I popped him in the bathtub, called Wildcare Eastern Sierra, and arranged for transport to the rehab facility in Bishop.

Most Eared Grebes that we find after a crash landing only need to be released back into water, but this one had a few scrapes from being blown over by a big pickup truck towing a fifth-wheel trailer, so he needs a little extra attention for his wounds before he will be released. Enjoy this little guy swimming and preening and checking out my bathtub—it’s not often you get to see them up close and in clear water. Just look at those silly feet!

Find all the other Moments we have filmed here at the Mono Lake Moments tag on our Videos page. You can also view the entire series on our YouTube channel.

Top photo by Nora Livingston.