Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Red-necked Grebe update

Photo: Phil Fry.
This bird was on Kaiser Lake in Champaign County today, and was yet another county record in the ongoing invasion.

Red-necked Grebes are normally a rare sight in Ohio, or anywhere else in the interior U.S. south of the Great Lakes and away from the Atlantic Ocean. Not this spring, however - these chunky grebes have staged an invasion of epic proportions; a movement previously unrivaled in scope. I wrote in more detail about the likely origins of these birds, and the reasons for their massive invasion of interior eastern North America, RIGHT HERE.

If you know of any additional county records not depicted on the following map, please let me know. It's been tough to try and keep track of all the Red-necked Grebe reports that are bombarding various forums, and I haven't yet made a detailed eBird analysis to try and pick up additional records.

UPDATE: I posted this map, with a plea for additional sightings, to various Facebook birding pages today. A whopping 55 new birds came in, as well as three new counties. Thank you to everyone who contributes your sightings, whether it be to Facebook, the Ohio Birds Listserv, eBird, or anywhere else. An updated tally appears below the map.


I cobbled together this map showing the Ohio records. Data comes from reports submitted to the Ohio Birds Listserv, various Facebook birding groups, the Cincinnati and Toledo birding websites, and direct reports. I'm quite sure there are other records floating around, and as always I welcome additions, deletions, corrections of any sort, and of course, any praise, however faint, is always welcome :-)

The map depicts a staggering invasion of Red-necked Grebes. Sixty-three counties, and a total of 371 birds by my reckoning. This far eclipses the previous record flights, which took place in February and March of 1994, when 111+ grebes were tallied in Ohio, and 2003 when around 200 birds were reported. This year's irruption is not confined to Ohio; many eastern states are experiencing a similar incursion. And I'm sure we'll have additional records before April's end.

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