Frantic foot slaps allow Western Grebe birds to skim the surface of the water without sinking. Unfortunately for this North American bird, this “dance” is a standard in finding a mate, meaning that if either a male or female grebe can’t “walk” on water, they’re usually out of luck in finding a mate.
Enderby resident Barb Tomlinson was visiting Salmon Arm Wharf on May 1 and happened to catch two birds performing the mating on camera.
“I saw the Western Grebes for the first time ever last spring. Mesmerized by their sound, I asked a man what they were. He told me and said to watch for their mating dance. I turned my camera to a group of four, put it on video and it happened that two of them did the dance,” said Tomlinson.
“That does not happen all the time. I took many videos hoping they were going to dance but none of the other videos were at the right time.”
According to the Government of Canada, the Western Grebe breeds colonially on lakes and marshes throughout Canada’s western provinces and forms large offshore feeding flocks in winter.
In 2014, the Western Grebe was assessed as Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada due to these declines and the potential for increased threats. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.
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