The Loon, A Magnificent Bird, is a much loved symbol of the northern lakes of our country and Canada. In Maine, the water bird is featured on one of its license plates and on the bottom of the plate, it states “A Natural Treasure”. With its iridescent black head and a neck that is ringed with a white necklace, deep red eyes, and its black and white spotted wings, it truly is a beautiful water bird.
With its haunting call that some people think resembles the mournful howl of a wolf, the loon symbolizes the northern wilderness of Maine to many people. You don’t have to trek into the wilderness though to see this beautiful bird, as it lives in many areas that happen to be tourist destinations.
At our summer cottage on Long Lake, we are fortunate to have several loons that swim within sight of our dock. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting out on our dock and kept hearing peeping sounds and decided to investigate. Much to my delight, there was a baby loon chick. No more than a week old, it was swimming by the shoreline bushes next to our beach and peeping up a storm.
This little loon chick was nothing but a tiny fluff ball floating through the water. To compare its size, look at the leaves on the bush that are less than two inches long.
In its discoveries of the new world surrounding it, the chick ventured up onto our beach.
To give you another indication of how tiny it is, what looks like yellow bits of sand is pine pollen what has washed up on the beach. After a few minutes on land, it was time to head back into the lake. And what an entrance it made, literally trying to walk on water.
Looking at this tiny bird, it is hard to imagine that in a short few months that it will grow into a beautiful bird like its parents. Come late September, it will be joining its parents on a migration south to waters that will not be frozen over for the winter.
Once the northern lakes have thawed next spring, the loons will make their way back north…hopefully making their home on our lake again next summer.
If you would like to hear what loons sound like, you might enjoy revisiting last year’s post “The Cry Of The Loon”.