Mar 01 2006
Black & White (with a red eye)—A loon I had the privilage to meet in Denali National Park. To hear the haunting sound of the loon click…
The common loon (Gavia immer) is anything but common. Red-eyed, with distinctive black and white markings, the loon has a dagger-like beak that apparently is perfect for its long, underwater fishing trips diving to depths of over 90 ft. The loon is most closely related to primitive birds, and its soliloquy of cries can sound eerily prehistoric. It is silent in winter, but in summer the loon is truly loquacious, with a repertoire of sounds that haunt the lake or waterway with strange laughter-like calls, falsetto wails and strange yodeling. At night, the effect is absolutely mesmerizing.
True to its reclusive and solitary nature, the loon prefers a secluded lake or estuary. It is very territorial, normally with only one family to a small body of water. This bird is an excellent swimmer and can stay underwater for long periods, but its life on land is another story; larger than most ducks, and with its feel well toward its tail, the loon is extremely awkward and most vulnerable on land. As a result, the loon nests as close to the water as possible, nearly throwing itself out of the nest and into the water. Graceful in the water and in flight, they are almost comical on take-offs and landing. Their size, solid bone structure and weight distribution result in thrashing water take-offs that can last 100s of feet. The loon’s landing is nothing so much as a controlled crash-glide.
The above is quoted from:
Two videos below of a loon and her chick on Wonder Lake, the first is the short version: