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Muggers - How Red-necked Grebes Got the Name
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Alaskans call Red-necked Grebes "muggers" because they attack other birds.


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2:00 minutes (1.57 MB)
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Few sights are as endearing as a mother Red-necked Grebe with three stripe-headed downy chicks nestled on her back. This species breeds along the shores of northern lakes, with many other grebes and ducks, including Mallards. Red-necked Grebes are excellent divers and can swim under water, coming up from below to attack other water birds. They’ll snatch newly hatched Mallard chicks and pull them down. Nature is complicated. But what appears to us, in Tennyson’s words, as nature “red in tooth and claw” may be the functioning of a balanced ecosystem.

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