Common Loons with Chicks in Sawyer County Wisconsin on July 2, 2016

On a recent trip to Sawyer County in Northern Wisconsin, I had the opportunity to watch and enjoy Common Loons with the chicks. These chicks were already very big, while I also came across an adult sitting on a nest. Also present and something I see every year were groups of 3-8 Common Loon adults gathered at sunrise as if they were having coffee. Then they split up and go out their separate ways an hour or so after sunrise. Another observation was an adult, just one adult present at this time, lays low in the water. Moments later I hear the sound of wings from behind me, I look up, 3 adult loons fly over the area in front of me. No loons in sight, they have all disappeared under the water, even the chicks. 15-20 seconds later, they all surface. A couple minutes later and adult loon flies in and joins the 3, now were have 2 adults and 2 chicks. What just took place?? I keep learning new things about these magnificent birds while a spend time watching them. Images were taken during the last few days of June and a couple of days in July 2016.

Common Loon adult with 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 adult

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, chick

Common Loon, chick

Common Loon, adult on nest

Common Loon, adult on nest

Common Loon, adult on nest

Common Loon, adult on nest

Common Loon, adult on nest

Common Loon, adult on nest

Common Loon, adult on nest rolling over eggs

Common Loon, adult on nest turning eggs over

Common Loon, adult on nest

Common Loon, adult on nest

Common Loon, adult on nest, view of nesting site

Common Loon, adult on nest, view of nesting site

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, chick stretching

Common Loon, chick stretching

Common Loon, adult with chick

Common Loon, adult with chick

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, chick, adults bring the chicks to a sandy shoreline area for the walking on land. Common Loons only walk a short distance and that occurs at nesting time. Their nests are typically 1 foot or less from water.

Common Loon, chicks at the shore

Common Loon, chick, one reason a chick needs to learn how to walk is to walk on shore for nesting

Common Loon, chick need to learn to walk a short distance for nesting

Common Loon, a chick walks on shore

Common Loon, chick need to learn to walk a short distance for nesting

Common Loon, a chick on shore

Common Loon, chick, walking on the beach

Common Loon, a chick walks on shore

Common Loon, chick, walking on the beach

Common Loon, a chick walks on shore

Common Loon, chick training time on the beach

Common Loon, chick walking back into water

Common Loon, chick eating a worm

Common Loon, chick eating a worm on shore

Common Loon, chick heading back out into the water after a short walk on shore

Common Loon, chick heading back out into the water after a short walk on shore

Common Loon, chick stretching

Common Loon, chick starting the stretch

Common Loon, chick stretching a leg

Common Loon, chick stretching a leg

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, adult stretching

Common Loon, adult stretching with chicks nearby

Common Loon, chick preening

Common Loon, chick preening

Common Loon, chick preening

Common Loon, chick preening

Common Loon, chick preening

Common Loon, chick preening

Common Loon, chick preening

Common Loon, chick preening

Common Loon, chick preening

Common Loon, chick preening

Common Loon, chick stretching

Common Loon, chick stretching

Common Loon, chick with fish

Common Loon, chick with fish

Common Loon, chick with fish

Common Loon, chick with fish

Common Loon, chick with fish, gulp!

Common Loon, chick, gulp!

Common Loon, adult taking off

Common Loon, adult taking off

Common Loon, adult taking off

Common Loon, adult taking off

Common Loon, adult taking off

Common Loon, adult taking off

Common Loon, adult with chicks

Common Loon, adult with chicks

Common Loon, adult with chicks

Common Loon, adult with chicks

Common Loon, chicks

Common Loon, chicks

They are always watching!

They are always watching!

Common Loon, adult stretching

Common Loon, adult stretching

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, chick in search of food in shallow water, just like the adults taught them them

Common Loon, chick in search of food in shallow water, just like the adults taught them

Common Loon, chick in search of food in shallow water, just like the adults taught them them

Common Loon, chick in search of food in shallow water, just like the adults taught them

Common Loon, chick in search of food in shallow water, just like the adults taught them them

Common Loon, chick in search of food in shallow water, just like the adults taught them

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, chick getting the catch, you can do it as the adult watches

Common Loon, chick getting the catch, you can do it as the adult watches

Common Loon, adults

Common Loon, adults

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, adult

They are always watching!

They are always watching!

Common Loon, adult bringing a fish to the chicks

Common Loon, adult bringing a fish to the chicks

Common Loon, chicks

Common Loon, chicks

Common Loon, chick

Common Loon, chick

Common Loon, chick

Common Loon, chick

Common Loon, chick

Common Loon, chick

Common Loon, chick

Common Loon, chick

Common Loon, adult stretching

Common Loon, adult stretching

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, chick

Common Loon, chick

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, adult watching a chick search for food

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, adult over sees the chick getting food

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, adult with chick

Common Loon, adult with chick

Common Loon, adult with chicks

Common Loon, adult

Common Loon, adult

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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.

11 Responses to Common Loons with Chicks in Sawyer County Wisconsin on July 2, 2016

  1. Michael Van Egeren says:

    Awesome ,thanks for sharing,Jim!

  2. Annie says:

    Awesome Jim. The loon is such a magnificent and beautiful creature. It must have been a peaceful morning. Were you on a kayak or canoe? I’m assuming so. Thanks ever so much for sharing.

  3. Gerald Haiar says:

    Very nice Jim. Fascinating birds.

  4. Thomas Wood says:

    Jim, as usual, your photos are both beautiful and educational.
    I have seen chicks riding on the parent’s back and swimming near a parent, but never walking onshore or finding their own fish. This site is aptly named, because it truly is a “Window to Wildlife.” Thanks!

  5. Tom O'Malley says:

    An excellant series Jim, thank you for sharing with us.

  6. Julie Woodcock says:

    Beautiful photos…you do the loons proud!

  7. Joanie says:

    Jim
    Thanks so much for sharing your pictures of this magnificent family. The common loon is one of y favorites but I only get to see them migrate thru on Lake Winnebago. Thanks again.

  8. Mary Korkor says:

    Jim,
    I always look at your photos, but this group was particularly fascinating and wonderful. Studied each one with delight. Thank you for sharing these with us. I probably won’t get to see any loons this summer, so this was my fix. Now I will just put the sound on loop! Happy Fourth!

  9. Cheryl Treland says:

    Fantastic shots Jim! You sure have to be patient to get these photos.

  10. Laura Wentz says:

    Wow, I learn something new every time I read your posts. Thanks for posting so many wonderful photos. I’ve only ever seen pictures of the chicks (when they’re little and on a parent). You’re lucky to have spent so much time with them.

  11. Sarah Stokes says:

    I always enjoy looking at your photos, but I don’t usually take the time to comment (sorry). These are really amazing! Thanks for sharing these and others

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