As a very new birder/photographer, it's so easy to think that every time you spot something you haven't seen before, it must be some strange, exotic creature. I mean, bright pink bill, blonde fringe and zebra stripes? Has to be something totally exciting, right?
Then I do some research and find out it's a juvenile of a very common species called a Pied-billed Grebe. But even if I feel really dumb after figuring that out, I don't care because it's still a really cool looking bird LOL! I would still like to know what the evolutionary advantage of the zebra stripes on the head could possibly be...
Especially as they go away and it turns into this very plain-looking adult bird. Still has a cute expression, though. And lots of fun to watch them dive! Maybe the stripes are to make it easier for mom to spot the baby birds...except I would think the pink beak would take care of that.