Jordan Lake. The horned grebe is a superb swimmer: its legs are almost under its tail and it has specialized feet that are long lobes like hickory tree leaves. It uses its leaf feet to propel itself quite quickly underwater. However, the placement and kind of feet keep the grebe from being able to takeoff efficiently … it can only launch from open water.

Horned Grebe Take-Off

Jordan Lake: Pied-billed grebes are a winter visitor here. They come down and spend the colder months with us. What I find really neat about the pied-billed grebe is, that like all grebes, it has feet where each toe has a lobe surrounding it. These lobes make the foot look like a tree leaf as you can see here in this photo. This makes the little grebe a very fast underwater swimmer as it dashes about catching fish and crustaceans for its food. I always smile when I see these grebes because they sure look like they are shyly smiling at the world.

WALK1452 immature grebe 2014

Pied-billed grebes would rather dive or run on the water to escape problems than to fly.
This immature grebe carefully watched me but made no attempt to flee.