Predators. The juveniles will migrate a few weeks after their parents, and once they reach the coast, the young loons stay there for two years. In fact, loons only go on land to mate and incubate their eggs. The Adirondack Council is dedicated to working to ensure the loon population will be able to grow so will continue to hear the haunting call of the loon for generations to come. They have four main calls which they use to communicate with their families and other loons. Your donation goes directly to help fund initiatives within the Adirondack Park. When they migrate, they typically fly alone, though some like to group up during the journey. As loons are very clumsy on land, their nests are located close to the banks of water, and often have a steep dropoff, allowing them easy access from underwater. Loon chicks are most often eaten by eagles, muskellunge, northern pike, and snapping turtles. The young leave the nest once hatched and are able to fly within 11 weeks of hatching. Generally, the female lays two, olive-green eggs with dark-brown spots about three inches long. They swim underwater to catch and eat their prey. Not only do loons fly long distances, they have to get used to the change in their diet from freshwater prey to saltwater. 518-873-2240 info@adirondackcouncil.org, Albany Office Loons only produce 1 brood a year. In the third year, they return north, but may not breed for several more years. And what exactly do loons eat? Loon calls have a distinct, haunting quality that has enchanted humans for centuries. How far can common loons fly in one day? (Jesse Costa/WBUR) On Sunday, April 27, 2003, as hundreds of loons were flying home to lakes in … In fact, a migrating loon was tracked at 70 mph! Loon populations are currently stable, but a number of threats loom, including human encroachment and pollution. In the summer adults have red eyes, but in the winter their eyes are brown. 1) Keep shorelines wild by letting native wetland plants grow. In winter, they are plain gray above and white below, and you’ll find them close to shore on most seacoasts and a good many inland reservoirs and lakes. There are many Native American legends about common loons. Named for their clumsy, awkward appearance when walking on land, common loons are migratory birds which breed in forested lakes and large ponds in northern North America and parts of Greenland and Iceland. Much like us, once the winter is over, loons can’t wait to get back to their favorite Adirondack pond or lake again! Loons can fly rather fast too. Loons like fish - panfish, perch, ciscoes, suckers, trout, bullheads, smelt, and minnows. Like an airplane, loons need a long runway, but one on the water, to help them take flight…30 yards or more. Each call has a distinct meaning and serves a unique function. They are unable to fly until their new feathers grow in, which takes about a month. They are excellent indicators of water quality as they require crystal-clear lakes (which makes it easier for them to see prey underwater) with abundant populations of small fish. Achieved with partners, grassroots advocacy, and YOUR support! As you can imagine, winter migration to the coast can take a toll on the loons. To protect the loons on lakes we visit, boats should be kept well away from swimming birds, particularly when they are with chicks that are too young to dive or fly. Also, during the winter, adult loons experience a full body molt and lose all their feathers, including the feathers on their wings. There are many Native American legends about common loons. The loons have to excrete that excess salt or they will die. Females will incubate 1-2 eggs for 25-30 days. Common Loons are a classic bird of the North Woods lakes. First Floor 3) Steer clear of loons, waterbirds and other wildlife. It is thought that they do this so they can feed more efficiently, and don’t have to fight off predators, or other loons from their feeding space. They winter all along North America’s Pacific and Atlantic coasts as well as in Europe and Iceland. Another call is the yodel, which is the male loon’s territorial call that is unique to every male loon. This extra weight helps them dive deep underwater…sometimes as deep as 250 feet to search for food. Loons spend the winter season along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico coasts. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. Loons also eat invertebrates like crayfish and aquatic insects like dragonflies. Loons can stay underwater for up to five minutes. There are five species of loons in North America: the Pacific Loon, the Arctic Loon, the Yellow-billed Loon, the Red-throated Loon, and the Common Loon (Gavia immer)….the one I talk about in this blog and the one that makes the Adirondack Park its summer home. DONATE NOW, Shop | Events | Email Signup | Contact Us | Careers | Privacy Policy | Photo Credits | Charitable Solicitation Disclosures, The Adirondack Council is 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Young loons don't fly until they are more than two months old. Loons are most vocal from mid-May to mid-June. Although great progress has been made that has allowed the Common Loon to again call the Adirondack their summer home, more needs to be done. They usually return to the same water bodies year after year. They build their nest on the shoreline in anticipation of their forthcoming new family members. As the summer progresses, the chicks grow and are ready to fend for themselves at about three months. Unlike other birds whose bones are air-filled (pneumatized), loons have dense bones. Their predators are diverse and can strike from all directions as they include birds like gulls, ravens, and crows, fish such as pike, and land mammals such as raccoons, weasels, and skunks. They also require lakes with enough surface area for their flapping-and-running takeoffs across th… The fuzzy chicks leave the nest and go into the water within a couple of days. And, hoots are short calls given by family members to keep in contact with each other. When preening, loons take oil from this gland in their bills and use it … Soon I will fly… The babies Loons are now two month old. And to this day the Inuit legally hunt over 4,500 a year for subsistence. Some of the information contained in this blog was found in: "Spirit of our Northern Water – the Common Loon" the NYS Conservationist, February 2012 - Biodiversity Research Institute’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation and Biodiversity Research Institute’s Forest Bird Program, Lisa M. Genier joined the Council in 1992 working as its Legislative Associate in the Albany office. Loons and other birds secrete oil from a gland at the base of the tail called the uropygial gland. Like an airplane, loons need a long runway, but one on the water, to help them take flight…30 yards or more. In addition, environmental pollutants, like acid rain and mercury, water quality issues, and shoreline development still threaten the loons’ long-term survival. However, because of their weight and the unique positioning of their legs, loons can’t take off from land. During this approximately two to three week molting period, loons are unable to fly and are in great danger. The wail is the call that loons give back and forth to figure out each other’s location. Loons. They are strong flyers and can cover hundreds of miles in a straight flight. They grow up to three feet in length and weigh up to 12 pounds, feeding largely on fish and invertebrates. The eerie calls of Common Loons echo across clear lakes of the northern wilderness. Both the male and female incubate the eggs, and in about a month (usually late-June to mid-August) loon chicks emerge.