GREBES, ANHINGAS, AND CORMORANTS

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Don't expect to find Loons or Horned Grebes at the public use areas of Woodruff.  These birds typically are found coastally or on larger lakes inland; you might occasionally be lucky enough to see one on Spring Garden Lake or on Lake Woodruff, but they are not regularly seen from the easily accessible areas of the refuge.

           Pied-billed Grebes are common on all of the canals and impoundments of the refuge.  They obtain the striped or "pied" bill only in the breeding season.   They are most commonly seen in fall through early spring, and while they are  breeding birds on the refuge, don't seem to be as abundant in the summer, as some of the wintering population migrates north.  There are often a couple of birds on Pool 1 just as you enter the impoundment area from the parking lot.
     Anhingas (also called Water Turkeys or Snakebirds) are common in the deeper canals and impoundments as well.  They can be found in Pools 1, 2 or 3, or adjoining canals.  The canals along the north and northeast sides of Pool 1 are a good place to look for them.  They can also be seen sitting on the pilings in Spring Garden Lake, visible from the dike around Pool 1. When in the water, they swim completely submerged or with only their head out of the water, and can be relatively inconspicuous.  They catch fish by spearing with their extremely sharp beaks, then toss them in the air to catch and swallow. Some Woodruff Anhingas can be quite friendly, as MaryBee Kaufman found out.
Double-crested Cormorants are common on the larger pools and on Spring Garden Lake from fall-spring.  They are also frequently seen sitting on pilings in Spring Garden Lake.  Like Anhingas, these diving birds are fish eaters, and can frequently be seen foraging in the large pool you see as you first leave the parking lot, especially on the north side near the culvert.  The bird on the left is a male, and on the right is a female.

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