How does a loon hunt for fish?

Birds

Do Loon birds prefer certain lakes?

Hence, the former group is exhibiting active preference for lakes that have been shown to result in higher chick mortality and lower breeding success. The common loon produces a variety of vocalizations, the most common of which are the tremolo, the yodel, the wail, and the hoot.

How do Loons dive?

In another way, loons are like submarines: they can dive below the water. Common loons spend a lot of time sticking their heads below water to look for fish, and then suddenly diving after their prey. Loons have solid bones, unlike other birds. This makes them less buoyant and better at diving.

How does a loon catch its prey?

The common loon uses its powerful hind legs to propel its body underwater at high speed to catch its prey, which it then swallows head-first. If the fish attempts to evade the common loon, the bird chases it down with excellent underwater manoeuvrability due to its tremendously strong legs.

What do you need to know about the common loon?

Common Loon Life History. Habitat. Common Loons are a classic bird of the North Woods lakes. 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.

Can there be more than one Loon in a lake?

Larger lakes may have more than one pair, with each pair occupying a bay or section of the lake. The red-throated loon, however, may nest colonially, several pairs close together, in small Arctic tarns and feed at sea or in larger lakes, ferrying the food in for the young.

How do Loon birds fly?

Loons fly strongly, though they have high wing loading (mass to wing area ratio), which complicates takeoff. Indeed, most species must run upwind across the water’s surface with wings flapping to generate sufficient lift to take flight. Only the red-throated loon ( G. stellata) can take off from land.

Where do loons live outside of the nesting season?

You may also be wondering where these birds spend their time outside of the nesting season, and whether loons might nest on a lake near you this year. Common Loons spend November to March in salt water close to the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines of North America, usually in bays and coves.

How long can a loon stay underwater?

The loon can stay underwater for up to five minutes, its signature red eyes helping it locate prey while submerged. Common loons are skilled in flight, sometimes reaching speeds of 70 miles (110 kilometers) an hour. Because of their relatively heavy bodies, they need a long “runway” to take off for flight and can only do so from water.

How do Loons fight each other?

One or more of the loons involved may periodically dive underwater, and in response its rivals will either dip their heads underwater to track its movements or dive after it. This helps them to ensure that they will not be stabbed from below.

What are the characteristics of common loons?

Common loons, with their eerie calls, are icons of northern lakes. These long-bodied birds are impressive swimmers and divers. Unlike the majority of bird species, common loons have solid bones, which makes them less buoyant and more effective at maneuvering through water.

What eats loon eggs in a pond?

Birds such as herring gulls, northern ravens and American crows will eat unattended eggs. Because their nests are at the water’s edge, common loon eggs are especially vulnerable if the adult is absent. Chicks may be killed by common snapping turtles, large gulls, bald eagles and large fish such as northern pike and largemouth bass.

What are the characteristics of a loon?

The loon has sharp, rearward-pointing projections on the roof of its mouth and tongue that help it keep a firm hold on slippery fish. Loons are water birds, only going ashore to mate and incubate eggs. Their legs are placed far back on their bodies, allowing efficient swimming but only awkward movement on land.

What is a common loon?

The common loon, or great northern diver ( G. immer ), is the most abundant loon in North America, and its haunting voice, heard in summer on northern wooded lakes, is considered a symbol of the wilderness.

How can you tell if a loon is breeding?

Note narrow, pointed wings and long trailing feet. Large-bodied loon with a hefty bill and flat head. Breeding birds have a black-and-white striped collar and a checkerboard back. Nonbreeding birds are often brownish above and show a pale partial collar on the neck.

What does a loon bird look like?

Size & Shape Common Loons are large, diving waterbirds with rounded heads and dagger-like bills. They have long bodies and short tails that are usually not visible. In flight, they look stretched out, with a long, flat body and long neck and bill. Their feet stick out beyond the tail (unlike ducks and cormorants), looking like wedges.

Do loon chicks fly around the lake on their back?

If nesting is successful, loon chicks can be seen going for a ride around the lake on a parent’s back. Back to top North American Common Loon populations are stable and healthy overall, and between 1966 and 2015 populations remained stable, and slightly increased in the U.S., according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey.

What is a common loon bird?

Common Loons are a classic bird of the North Woods lakes. 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.

Can a lake have more than one Loon?

Lakes with an abundance of peninsulas, protected coves, and islands can often support more than one pair of nesting loons. Loons live on lakes with varying pH levels, but lakes with a pH of 4.5 or less often do not have loons due to low fish populations.

What does a loon look like in flight?

Loons in flight resemble plump geese with seagulls ‘ wings that are relatively small in proportion to their bulky bodies. The bird points its head slightly upwards while swimming, but less so than cormorants. In flight, the head droops more than in similar aquatic birds. 1918 illustration of a variety of loons by Archibald Thorburn.

Can Loon birds take off from land?

Only the red-throated loon ( G. stellata) can take off from land. Once airborne, loons are capable of long flights during migration.

Do Loons fly alone or in groups?

Common loons are not social birds. You can usually find them by themselves during the day. At night, though, they sometimes stick together in groups called flocks while they sleep. When they migrate, they typically fly alone, though some like to group up during the journey.

How fast can a loon fly?

Common loons are skilled in flight, sometimes reaching speeds of 70 miles (110 kilometers) an hour. Because of their relatively heavy bodies, they need a long “runway” to take off for flight and can only do so from water. Their legs trail out behind them while in flight, a characteristic held by all loons.