Grebes and the bad nesting site

There is an old steamboat in Lucerne Switzerland that serves as a restaurant and therefor is always at the same place on the lake. Every year either Eurasian Coots or Great Crested Grebes nest in the space that is provided by the paddles (is that the right word?) of the steamboat.

Steamboat Restaurant in Lucerne

Nesting place

Nesting place close-up

This nesting place seems to be very good this year there was one Grebe chick (the one you see in the Summer Chicks post). For the first time this year I observed them building another nest underneath the bridge on the left in the first picture. But that spot will not bring any luck because it is built in a place that is very dependent on the water level.

June 22nd: building the nest as seen in the video
June 29nd: the water level of the lake sank and the eggs fell into the water
July 21st: they built another nest, this time a little bigger and laid two eggs – I don’t know if it was the same couple
July 23rd: because they used so much weed on their nest I saw two Mute Swans having the nest for breakfast – or at least nibbling at it
July 25th: they still did not give up and rebuilt the whole thing – one sitting already again on it
July 30st: this time the water level of the lake rose and the nest – with no eggs – was floating, unstable, unusable
August 2nd: nothing is there anymore, I assume they won’t try it again – this year…

One of the eggs in the water

The nest with two eggs on July 21.

The floating nest with no eggs on July 30

Part of “I and the bird #131

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~ by Natalie on August 2, 2010.

11 Responses to “Grebes and the bad nesting site”

  1. I hope they have better luck next year. Well told post.

  2. It’s a shame they were unsucessful after trying so many times. Excellent post and photos!

  3. Thank you Denise and MaineBirder for your comments. Well I don’t really know if it was always the same couple…

  4. Excellent write up on the type of story that can be painful to retell. Hopefully, they are successful next time around. Good sequence of photos to support your post!

  5. So strange. I guess they must have had some success there in previous years though to make them keep coming back. Very interesting post!

  6. Well written post of a sad situation. Oh dear … after so many tries, still no luck. I’ve got my fingers crossed for next year.

  7. @birdingdude @gaiachick @Julie G. Thank you all so much for the comments. I’ll see what I’ll be able to tell you next year!

  8. I was waiting for the optimistic ending. What a bummer for those birds.

    • I’m sorry that my post left you with no happy ending – but that’s how nature goes sometimes…

  9. Birds build their nest in the strangest places. I had a wren build a nest in my large rural, metal, mailbox this year. Despite the heat, she fledged two babies.

  10. Great post. I watched as a pair of Pied-billed Grebes built their nest last year. It was very interesting the way they painstakingly labor at the construction. I followed them during the nesting phase and returned often, hoping to see the little nestlings as they grew and started riding on the adults backs.

    I was devastated when I returned on the day they should have hatched to find nothing left. The nest was gone. I can only figure it was ravaged by a river otter that lived nearby.

    I will never know what happened to it but the adult grebes are still there and hopefully chose a better location this year.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I think there are many seasons when pairs of birds have failing nests for various reasons but, like you say, that is nature.

    Hopefully this pair (I’m sure it was the same pair trying to re-nest each time) finds a better location next season.

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