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Sunday, 12 July 2009

Loon Nesting

Loons nesting, at first glance, look like a rock sticking up through a little bit of mud in the water. Loons are adapted to swimming very well with their legs far back on their body for propulsion. This makes it very difficult for loons to walk on land so loons nest right on the waters edge, or as in this picture from Long-Time-No-See-Um Bay, the furthest north arm of Lake Wabatongushi, the loons just pile a little bid of mud and weeds on a shallow area and lay their eggs there. This loon has 2 eggs, we have been watching this nest for a few weeks. This is probably the male since it is a bit bigger than the other loon we saw nearby. Both parent loons raise the chicks. As soon as the loon chicks hatch they go into the water and never go on land again except to nest. If they need warmth and protection they climb up on one of their parent's backs and hide under a wing, nice and cosy and safe.
Loons are a very large powerful bird, almost as big as a Bald Eagle and much heavier because unlike most birds, loons have solid bones which makes it easy to dive 100's of feet, but flying and walking are a task. Because loons' nest are so close to the water they are very suseptible to damage from boat wakes so going into sheltered bays, channels and wetlands you should always go slowly to avoid damaging the habitat and nesting areas of loons and other wetland birds and animals.
Loons are one one of the oldest bird species Loon fossils have been found dating back to the end of age of dinosaurs over 65 Million Years ago.
When the loon ckicks hatch we will try to get a picture of them as well for here.

From Errington's Wilderness Island Resort www.WildernessIsland.com

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