Western Grebes nest at Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Aberdeen, South Dakota. They have an elaborate courtship behavior that was in beginning stages when I visited there late last week. Courtship culminates with the pair rising to their feet on the water, and with wings abeat, racing across the water’s surface. The birds touch, bow, and nod to each other as pairs are chosen.  

The Western Grebe colonies most reliable and closest to the Twin Cities that Chanhassen birder Bob Janssen knows of are on Lake Osakis in Todd and Douglas counties, and possibly some of the larger lakes in Kandiyohi County south and east of Willmar. Also worth a look are Lake Waconia in Carver County and Pelican Lake in Wright County.  The status of these colonies change from year to year, he said. Janssen is author of a book on Minnesota bird records, and is working on a book about birds in our state parks.


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Quick trip to South Dakota

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Four grebe species on Swan Lake, Nicollet County