Staff of the Wildlife Services-Massachusetts program arrived at their Amherst headquarters one November morning to discover a red-necked grebe floundering on the lawn.
Tim Cozine, CWB® and a staff wildlife biologist, speculated that on a grey morning the bird likely misidentified rooftop solar arrays reflecting the sky as a body of water and tried to set down. Like other grebes, once on land it was unable to propel itself airborne.
The staff was able to capture the grebe fairly quickly. After they determined it wasn’t injured, they transported the grebe to a nearby pond for release. Once released onto a liquid launching platform, the loud grebe quickly moved on.
Common loons and grebes have been known to try to land on large puddles or ice slicks on parking lots, which can also look like ponds, and get similarly stranded. With increasing numbers of solar panels being deployed, this phenomena could be an emerging issue for these species. Happily, our staff was able to recover and assist this grebe.