Skip to content

PROWLS frees western grebe from bushes south of town

Western grebe

ROAD RASH: From a western grebe’s point of view high in the sky, the wet asphalt road far below probably looked like a river and a perfect choice for landing during strong winds and heavy rain. It was an unfortunate decision. Crash landing on the highway south of Stillwater, it was stuck.

Because its legs are far back on its body and its feet act like a boat propeller, grebes are physically not able to live on land, only on water. It is because of this positioning of the feet that they are able to perform their incredible mating dance on the surface of the water.

By the time Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society founder Merrilee Prior arrived, the crashed grebe had somehow rolled its way deep into the bushes and could not be found. Two days later, when she received a call about a merganser tumbling about on land in the same area, she was not surprised upon arrival to find it was the missing grebe.

Scrambling through brambles down a six-foot vertical bank, Merrilee was able to grab it and hold it firmly under her arm. Screaming loudly, the grebe took one look at her, then pulled back its long beak and gave her a hard bang on the cheek, and another on her chin.

Now, with its head stuffed firmly under an arm, Merrilee and the disoriented grebe scrambled back up the bank, where it was safely stowed in a carrier.

Back at PROWLS, the only consequence of its crash landing was found to be road rash on the tops of its feet from landing on the asphalt road. It was released back into the ocean at Gibson’s Beach, where it quickly swam off to join a flock of grebes swimming far offshore.

Because they mate for life, we hope it will soon meet up with its partner.