National Geographic : 1970 May
Switching mothers in midstream "Inexplicable behavior often comes to light through wildlife photography," notes Mr. Truslow. This series, filmed in Bear River National Wildlife Refuge, Utah, illustrates the point. The stars: two female Western grebes and their broods. Mother number one cruises along (top) with three big chicks about two weeks old. One rests on her back; she tows two others, who hang on by their bills. Along comes mother number two, with two little chicks riding her back (center foreground). In back ground, mother number one paddles by, with one chick still hanging on and the other two trailing her (one not shown). Shortly thereafter, but unseen here, the last chick of mother number one dropped off her back, and her entire brood swam over to mother number two and climbed onto her back. Everybody sank! After bobbing to the surface, mother number two swims away (lower picture) with her own two offspring still on her back and two adopted chicks gamely hanging on. Her pecks discouraged the other would-be family member, who followed at a distance. A., l...,, .nl.,, .1-fl 77_0 inhac nneCCPOMF (rl N r. c 64.