Horned Grebes spend all of their life stages associated with water, so they are thought to be a good indicator of the health of a particular wetland ecosystem. Typical habitat is small ponds, marshes and wetlands, either natural or man-made.
Horned grebes arrive in the Northwest Territories in May. They build floating nests in shallow water, among willow, cattails or other plants for protection from predators and shelter from strong waves. They lay five to seven eggs that hatch in mid-June and July. Once hatched, chicks are almost immediately able to swim and dive underwater. However, during the first few weeks they often ride on the backs of their parents and can even go underwater with them during dives. Adults leave the Northwest Territories by mid-August and young leave by early September. They winter along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America.
Horned Grebes eat aquatic insects, small fish and crustaceans. They are known for eating their own feathers and even feed feathers to young chicks to aid in digestion.