Common Loon

The eerie call of the loon is a characteristic sound across many a northern lake as night approaches. The loon is a mostly aquatic bird that gets its name from its distinctive call or cackle. The facts that this bird has dark red eyes and doesn’t walk very well on land, also lend to its common name. Loons are from a fairly primitive family of birds that have many adaptations for life on the water, including solid bones, a dagger-like bill, and plumage that insulates much like a wetsuit.

Credit: - Jed Sheehan/Flickr
Credit: - Jerry Kirkhart/Flickr
Credit: - Alan Vernon/Flickr

Loons are rather large and heavy birds that have small pointed wings, and legs that are positioned to the rear of their body. The weight of this bird gives it a partially submerged appearance when resting on water. Despite their small wings, loons are strong flyers; however, they require a relatively long stretch of water for takeoff. They are also very strong swimmers, and can dive to impressive depths in search of food. These birds hunt by sight, and can remain submerged for long periods when the need arises. Loons typically feed on fish, crayfish, frogs, and leeches. Loons nest in the summer and have two or three offspring. The buff-colored chicks develop quickly, and soon can fend for themselves. Loons are either very curious or friendly, and they will often swim very close to a boat, only to startle with their eerie vocalizations.

Article by FCFCDB

Nature note for 9/11/21