If you have never sat by the Lake in Minnesota and heard the loons fly over the lake or listened to one of their many calls, you need to experience this bird. Learn why I love the Common Loon as we sit in chairs by the lake.
There is one thing that I miss the most about living in Minnesota is hearing the loons fly over my house and watching them out and about on the lake. This is soothing to the soul. It sometimes feels like I know what they are saying.
Learning about Common Loons
To understand why I love loons, you need to learn a little about them.
Common Loons, male and female pair up together in the late spring in the northern parts of Canada and the USA. They wear the colors black and white when they are mating. They are dressed in their best.
The Common loon lives in the water and only nests eggs on land on the water’s edge.
Eggs usually hatch around mid-June or later and within a few hours of being born the chicks ride on their parent’s backs.
As chicks, they are born with very dark brownish-black fuzzy hair and as they get older it turns to a lighter shade of gray with flying feathers added each month.
It is hard to tell the female and male loons apart except the male is slightly bigger. Loons weigh 6-12 pounds and some up to 18 pounds.
Loons are excellent flyers, divers, and swimmers. They can stay underwater for up to 5 minutes.
They have webbed feet which help them to swim and dive and they walk clumsily on land. According to National Geographic, this is why they are called loons.
Common loons have 4 different calls (tremolo, wail, yodel, and hoot) used for different purposes.
The loon feathers turn gray when they live in the south during the winter months on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.
Every spring, if possible, the loons return to the same lake.
Why I Love the Common Loons
First, I love the loon colors when they live in the North. They are one of the prettiest and most distinguished birds with their black and white plumage and I love those red eyes. I love when I am on the stand-up paddle board and I can spot a loon.
When we lived in Minnesota I would have my bathroom windows open at night. Every morning I would hear the loons fly over our house and hear the tremolo call. It delighted my soul and I miss that sound. It to me was them saying as they passed by, “Good morning”.
At night the birds would make a wailing call. If the windows were open, I would hear this sound.
One time I heard it at night a few days after the little loons were born. The loons were wailing, and in my mind, I knew something sad may have happened. The next day I only saw one baby loon on the back. Something had gotten one of the baby loons.
The wailing call is used a lot during the first few weeks of parenting. When we get a little too close the loon will make a wail call to say danger to other loons.
Another time I got a little too close on my SUP and the papa loon started to wail and then because he wanted to get his babies to safety. Mama Loon carried them away while I stood in awe watching papa loon spread his wing and do a dance while he called out with the Yodel, saying “Stay away.” This dance was to distract me from Mama and the babies.
The Yodel call is also used to help the Loons find their mates in the spring.
The hoot call is typically used for loons to say to each other-“here I am”. It’s a short little call like “Hello”.
I love the baby chicks. The first week loons are born mama loon has them rest about on her back or under her wing. It was truly amazing to watch a little one under her wing, come out and slide down Mama’s back to get in the water.
Those dark fuzzy little loons are so cute. I could pinch their cheeks with cuteness. I was so excited that I was able to get all these photos to remember that week.
Diving and Flying
Loons are experts at diving and flying. I love to watch them spread their wings in the water and take off from the lake. They will fly to other lakes to find food or become social with other loons at other lakes.
When I am watching them in the water, I see a loon and the next minute I don’t because it’s mealtime. They are diving to catch fish to eat. You see them and then you don’t and then you see them in another part of the lake. It just makes for fun following them to where they will pop up next.
The more I know about loons and have had experiences with loons in Minnesota the more I love them. Who cannot love Loons? I hope you encounter a loon sometime in your life. Then you will know why I love the common loon.
I am working on a Loon picture book. Let me know if you would be interested in purchasing a book like this in the future for your kids to learn about loons. Everyone should know about loons. The Loon is the Minnesota State Bird- if you live in Minnesota, you gotta love the Loon.
Comment about your loon experiences or what you love about them.
If you are into Loons you may want to read other Minnesota-related blogs.
Why Mosquitoes may like you.
Boundary Waters the Easy Way.