Lesson #100: Loons

Yeah, I know, I should write about centenaries and stuff, but whatever, you’re getting loons. Because loons are awesome.*

The common loon is found in large freshwater bodies of water (read: rivers and lakes) across Canada and the northern US. They feed on fish and other water vertebrates, and do all their feeding underwater. The clutch size is 2-4 eggs and nests are built at ground level. Tending to their eggs is about the only time loons leave the water as they are ill-equipped to live on land due to the positioning of their legs for optimal swimming power — which makes them awkward on land. Loons are flightless for a few weeks in midwinter following the simultaneous molting of all their wing feathers.**

Also, the common loon (which is the one I’m talking about anytime I say the word loon) is apparently the official bird of the province of Ontario and the state of Minnesota, which is not even a tiny bit surprising.

If you want to hear what the loons sound like, you can hear their calls here. There are four distinct features of a loon call…the hoot, the wail, the tremolo and the yodel, each of which can be heard separately here. Personally, I find the loon call soothing (haunting, but soothing) though some find it really disturbing.

As an aside: It drives me absolutely crazy when I watch a TV show or movie that is set somewhere like southern California and shows me a lake with loon calls. I get that they’re trying to convey serenity, but seriously? There are no loons in southern California; I know it, you know it and the people of southern California know it.

*Well, I think loons are awesome, but some of my friends who didn’t grow up with them think they’re “creepy” and “evil”. Rereading that sentence, it makes it sound like we kept them as pets. We didn’t.

**This information is here.

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