If you visited a pond or lake this summer, you may have seen a ducklike bird that quickly vanished underwater if you approached too closely, only to come up far away.

What you probably saw was a kind of waterbird know as a grebe (pronounce as greeb).

Grebes grow to be less than two feet long and have softly patterned plumage of white, gray, black or brown tones.  They feed on fish, crawfish, and water bugs.

Though expert swimmers, grebes are clumsy on land.  Their feet are placed so far back on their bodies that they can hardly walk.

Baby grebes are born on a raftlike nest woven of reeds and pond weeds.  They can swim and dive as soon as they are hatched.

In winter, grebes desert their reedy ponds and lakes for more open water and maybe found far out at sea. – Dick Rogers