Angry Pied-billed Grebe vs. American Coot   (five photos)
Podilymbus podiceps vs. Fulica americana

Podilymbus podiceps
This is the male Pied-billed Grebe most of us know - shy, hard to photograph.  Because this one was not trying to
 hide from me as I was photographing from shore and was actually moving towards me was my first clue that
something was up on this Farmington Bay pond. He was a bird on a mission! © Carol Davis, 6-5-2011


pied-billed grebe and American coot
The Pied-billed approached some nearby American Coots with a seemingly calm demeanor and the next thing I
knew he was giving the male the evil eye and moving in. The coots were just starting a nest on the pond, and because
the grebe was being so agressive, they were shouting obscenities at him in bird lingo
. © Carol Davis, 6-5-2011

evil eye
I could tell that the male coot thought the grebe had gone completely off his nut because he was cowering
and when the grebe attacked, all hell broke loose. 
© Carol Davis, 6-5-2011

hell broke loose
Suddenly the grebe attacked the coot who jumped on top and tried to drown the grebe. Grebes,
however, don't drown easily and he popped up about three feet away (sporting a smirk) and approached
 again.  There was a female coot on a nest nearby who joined in the fight at one point, with both of them
trying to drown the grebe, but it didn't work. The grebe kept coming back time and time again
after resurfacing and he was as mad as a... "wet grebe!"
© Carol Davis, 6-5-2011

pied-billed grebe
The grebe was on a mission and attacked one of both of the coots many times. Something must have happened
before  I arrived to make this bird so enraged. He had a mate on the other side of the pond with some small
babies and my guess is that the coots tried to get too close to them, or maybe the grebes just didn't want them
 nesting in the area at all. The battle must have gone on for 10-15 minutes. Once the female grebe started to swim
out into the pond a little with the babies and the male grebe gave her a look and she moved them back towards
shore. Finally the male pied-billed grebe figured he had made his point and swam back over to his family.  It was
 really neat to watch.  I just stood next to the fence about 15 feet from the battle and took pictures and the normally
shy male grebe couldn't have cared less - very uncharacteristic of this species.  I'll bet the coots steered clear
of the feisty grebe and his family from then on.
© Carol Davis, 6-5-2011


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