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Be on the lookout for red-necked grebes

WILLMAR -- It's a bird you very likely have seen now and then, but didn't necessarily recognize.

It's a red-necked grebe, and some are believed to nest on wetlands or small lakes in Kandiyohi County. Randy Frederickson of Willmar is asking the public to report any sightings to himself or the non-game staff with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Frederickson, a Willmar junior high school science instructor and birding enthusiast, is devoting time this summer to helping the state collect baseline data on the migratory bird. We do not know how many red-necked grebes nest in Minnesota, but it is believed their numbers are in decline throughout the midwest.

The birds are identified by the Minnesota DNR as a species of greatest conservation need. They are uncommon and their wetland and small lake habitat is in serious decline.

Red-necked grebes build floating nests attached to vegetation in small wetlands. They spend most of their time in water.

Frederickson welcomes calls from people who have seen red-necked grebes or believes they know water bodies where they can be found in the area.

The birds share similar habitat preferences, as do loons. People helping with the annual loon survey on area lakes might want to keep their eyes open for the red-necked grebes as well.

Frederickson can be reached at 320-231-1291.

People with ideas on where they can be found outside of Kandiyohi County can also call nongame specialists with the DNR: Pam Perry, Brainerd at 218-833-8728 or Lisa Gelvin-Innvaer in New Ulm at 507-359-6033.