I have always found a birds call challenging to remember, but there are a few unmistakable calls that even a toddler can remember. The forlorn cry of the loon echoing across the lake is one such call.
Play the call of the Loon. The link will open in a new tab.
The Common Loon is a pretty cool bird. They can fly almost 70mph (113kph) and dive over 200 feet deep to capture their prey. On the downside, they suck at taking flight. Of the four species of loons, only one can take off on land! Their legs are farther back than usual to make them better swimmers. Loons must take long runs on the surface of the water to launch their bulky body in the air.
“The call of the wild loon is one of the wildest and most striking wilderness sounds.”
The Common Loon is also called the Great Northern Diver, and the key reason is that loons have solid bones that make them less buoyant. Common Loons typically hold their breath for up to a minute while hunting, but when they get scared, they can stay under for up to 3 minutes!
The loon is the state bird of Minnesota and adorns the most famous coin in Canada, the one dollar, Looney!
Both loon parents tend to their babies. The chicks spend most of their first two weeks riding on the back of their parents.
The North American name “loon” likely comes from the Old English word “lumme,” meaning lummox or awkward person both referring back to how ungainly they appear on land.
There are multiple collective nouns for the loon. A group of loons is rare, but if you see a group, you can call them an “asylum,” “cry,” “loomery,” “raft,” or “water dance.”
“How surprised must the fishes be to see this ungainly visitor from another sphere speeding his way amid their schools! Yet he appeared to know his course as surely under water as on the surface, and swam much faster there.”
HENRY DAVID THOREAU
Loon Photography Workshop
In 2020, I m running my first loon photography workshop. I am so excited to show my clients these cool birds in the wilderness of Northern Ontario. There may be space left, so click the link to go and check out the best loon photography workshop!
Do you know something about loons that I don’t know? Leave a comment below and let me know!