Common Loons in Sawyer County Wisconsin on July 3, 2015

On a recent trip to Sawyer County in Northern Wisconsin, I had the opportunity to watch and enjoy Common Loons with the chicks. I keep learning new things about these magnificent birds while a spend time watching them. Images were taken during the last week or so of June 2015.

Common Loon with a resting chick

Common Loon with a resting chick

Common Loon

Binomial name: Gavia immer

Category: Loons

Description: Black head with black and white checkered body in summer for breeding season; brown and white body in the winter.  Blackish-blue bill that is held horizontally and black feet.

Size: 24″-40″ long, 4′ – 5′ wingspan

Weight: 4 lbs. – 8 lbs.

Habitat: Large lakes and shorelines

Diet: Fish (perch, trout, sunfish, bass, crayfish)

Nesting: Usually nests on small islands or other locations safe from land-based predators.  The nest may be made out of thin sticks, dried grasses, or a depression in mud or sand.  Typically 1 to 3 eggs will be laid at one time and will be incubated by both parents.  The parents aggressively protect their nests and share the responsibility of feeding the young.  Baby loons may be seen riding on the back of either parent in the water.

Notes: The Common Loon has legs positioned in the rear of its body.  This makes for excellent diving and graceful swimming; however, it also makes for awkward landings and clumsy walking.  In fact, Loons require a “runway” spanning 30 yards or 1/4 mile for take-off and landing AND it can only be done in water.  Loons have actually been stranded in small ponds, icy lakes, or even a parking lot without a suitable runway and must be rescued.

Common Loon with a chick

Common Loon with a chick

Adult Common Loon, the young chick just resting on her back

Adult Common Loon, the young chick just resting on her back

Common Loon with 2 chicks

Common Loon with 2 chicks

Common Loon

Common Loon

Feeding time

Adult Common Loon feeding the young. In my observations the female rests with the chicks off feeding time. The adult male is no where to be seen but at feeding time shows up by flying into the area and landing or just appears out of nowhere along a shoreline or moves in from along ways off in underwater swimming.

Feeding time

Feeding time

Adult stretching

Adult stretching

Adult stretching

Adult stretching

Adult stretching

Adult stretching

Feeding time

Feeding time

Chick

Chick

This adult doing the YODEL call. Moments before a different adult was calling  from a distant location and could not be seen. These 2 adults layed very low in the water almost appeared as they were trying to hide but being on alert.

This adult was doing the YODEL call. Moments before a different adult was calling from a distant location but could not be seen. These 2 adults layed very low in the water, almost appeared they were trying to hide but still being on alert.

Common Loon family

Common Loon family

Adult Common Loon with a chick under the adult wing. I observed 2 chicks under the wings of an adult for well over an hour and I could not see them until the came out, amazing!

Adult Common Loon with a chick under the adult wing and 1 standing by. I observed 2 chicks under the wings of an adult for well over an hour and I could not see them until the came out, amazing!

The stretch

The stretch

The stretch

The stretch

Common Loon family with 2 chicks, one feeding

Common Loon family feeding chicks on the back of an adult

Feeding time

Feeding time

Feeding time

Feeding time

An adult at take off time on the water, going from a long run finally taking to the air.

An adult at take off time on the water, going from a long run finally taking to the air.

In this image there are 5 adult, which I think are males, but this is only a guess. I have observed adults gather for years in the early morning, then departing going their separate ways. I have also observed adults gathering, leaving the group, going to help the female feed young, then retuning to a group.  It appears at feeding time the male shows up, they feed young, the male leaves the area returns later, etc.

In this image there are 5 adult, which I think are males, but this is only a guess. I have observed adults gather for years in the early morning, then departing going their separate ways. I have also observed adults gathering, leaving the group, going to help the female feed young, then retuning to a group.

In the morning fog, Common Loon with chick

In the morning fog, Common Loon with chicks

Adult Common Loon preening

Adult Common Loon preening

Adult Common Loon preening

Adult Common Loon preening

Common Loon

Common Loon

Great Blue Heron just hanging out

Great Blue Heron just hanging out

American Bald Eagle

American Bald Eagle

Black Bear swimming across a channel

Black Bear swimming across a channel

Black Bear reaching the other shore after a long swim across the channel

Black Bear reaching the other shore after a long swim across the channel

White-tailed Deer, doe

White-tailed Deer, doe

White-tailed Deer, doe

White-tailed Deer, doe

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About admin

Window to Wildlife features the photography of Jim Edlhuber. A lifelong native of Wisconsin, Jim has been photographing wildlife for 20 years. He considers himself an avid photographer and is always trying to capture nature and wildlife through his lens. He is in several photography clubs and has won numerous awards for his work. In recent years, Jim has focused mostly on birding photography and finds it to be the most challenging.

6 Responses to Common Loons in Sawyer County Wisconsin on July 3, 2015

  1. Sara Sonntag says:

    Fantastic series of captures Jim!!!! Loved them all!! What a wonderful trip for you! Looking forward to seeing more!

  2. Nan Wisherd says:

    Love the photos! We visited Crex Meadows on July 4 and watched a Common Loon with a baby on its back. Also saw a pair of Red-necked Grebes feeding their three checks. Nature is grand!

  3. I didn’t realize the male loons gathered in groups and “hung out” for a while before getting to their tasks for the day. Learned something new today! Excellent photos!

  4. Laura says:

    What a treat to be able to see and photograph them. Thank you for sharing your photos.

  5. Ruth Ruddock says:

    Jim, these pics of the Loons are so very good…so enjoyable to see them. Happy for you that you got up there to relax and photograph them, and thanks for sharing them on here.
    I still have my print of the “hitchhiker”, and enjoy it so much.
    Thanks again!

  6. Amy says:

    These are precious & beautiful photos!

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