Grebes are strictly water birds, and their bodies are so highly adapted to an aquatic life they are nearly helpless on dry land. Even standing is difficult for them, and they are unable to take flight without first running on the water’s surface for a significant distance.
It is not known whether the grebe was attacked by a predator in flight, or simply mistook the wet pavement for a body of water and landed, but once he was on the ground he was unable to get airborne again.
The woman who found the grebe scooped him up and took him to West Sound Wildlife Shelter on Bainbridge Island. Following a short stay at that shelter, where he was treated for foot wounds and minor lacerations, the bird was transferred to PAWS on March 10.
As of this writing, the Horned Grebe has been in our care for one week. His wounds are still healing and he’s being monitored closely.