Loon returns


Following the last posting, Osprey returns, now comes the Loon. As with my osprey observation, there have been a handful of others who have seen or heard loons in the past little while. But, this was my first sighting.

Both birds, Osprey and Loon, winter elsewhere but breed here in the summer. Both are big (the loon is 2 ½ times as heavy as the osprey), have black and white plumage, and are live-fish-eating birds that arrive in the spring and leave in the fall. Yet, people celebrate the osprey, while more-or-less ignoring the loon. 

Folks watch for the osprey’s arrival, they watch their chicks grow and fledge, and name things after them. The loon, not so much. (The coin named after it is a national thing.)

One does wonder why the disparity. 

It might be just a matter of avian marketing. The osprey nests conspicuously on trees and pilings beside the lakeshore in full view of homes and summer cottages. The loon vanishes to nest beside small mountain lakes, well out of view of all but the most intrepid bird watcher. The osprey makes dramatic plunges from on high into the water only to surface and fly off with a fish in its talons; the loon quietly dives for and quickly swallows a fish. 

Despite their other similarities, it seems that the loon lacks the osprey’s really good marketing agent.

A Common Loon arrives at Kootenay Lake.


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10 Responses to Loon returns

  1. Margo says:

    I am thrilled to know that the loons are back! The common loon and the Great Blue Heron are by far MY favoured birds! Maybe because they are still enough for me to observe them, but both are graceful. Thank you for this.

  2. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson says:

    Call me a Nationalist, if you will, but, while not precisely a producer of puff, I too am drawn by the call of the Loon. I accumulate the species: look after the loons and the crawlers will look after themselves.

  3. birthe says:

    Thanks again Alistair. During the years I walked in Kokanee park I was never lucky enough to see or hear a loon. The only time I’ve seen loons was on a trip to the Cariboo. Seeing and hearing them was an incredible experience.

  4. Karen Piock says:

    But no osprey or any other (at least water bird) can match the loon’s elegance!

  5. Allan Hobden says:

    The call of the Loon always stirs something in me..and the Loon is a beautiful bird to see and watch.

  6. Christine Boyd says:

    I’ve never noticed the striping on its neck before. Beautiful photo!

  7. Lois says:

    Uncommonly beautiful.

  8. Susan D says:

    Ahhhh, the sight of the loon.

    I long now to get up to our cottage (near Haliburton Ontario) to meet up with them again. But now…? Not so sure when that will be.

  9. Irene McIlwaine says:

    Stunning in both appearance and voice … and I believe they mate for life.

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