Common Loon

On a recent trip to Sawyer County in Northern Wisconsin, I had the opportunity to photograph Common Loons.  This graceful bird has an enchanting call that has inspired numerous Native American tales and even a novel.  The Common Loon has been featured on Canadian currency and is also the state bird of Minnesota.

I have also included some images taken last summer at the same location.

Common Loon @ Window to Wildlife

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)

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 @ Window to Wildlife

Common Loon @ Window to Wildlife

Common Loon @ Window to Wildlife

Common Loon @ Window to Wildlife

Common Loon @ Window to Wildlife

Common Loon @ Window to Wildlife

Common Loon @ Window to Wildlife

Common Loon @ Window to Wildlife

Common Loon @ Window to Wildlife

Common Loon @ Window to Wildlife

To see the full gallery of images, please click here.

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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.

8 Responses to Common Loon

  1. Nancy Nabak says:

    Just such good stuff, Jim! I enjoy your ability to stop time, catch the real things in life, and show it to others. Just lovely. Last image is heart-warming.

  2. Kay Kavanagh says:

    What lovely pictures!!

  3. Peggy Connell says:

    What wonderful pictures Jim. I love the common loon, you know you are up north when you hear the loon calling. My husband and I missed going up north this year in the spring when the babies were hatched you have helped to bring it home.

  4. Dan E says:

    Very Nice Loons Jim.

  5. trueruthRuth says:

    Great photos, Jim! I think of all the bird photos I’ve seen, the Loon is the most striking and just plain beautiful. So glad that you have the blog now…a place to share your talent
    with all of us.

  6. Elaine says:

    Here’s a bird that takes your breath away – velvety feathers, elegant posture, hauntingly beautiful. Though you couldn’t capture the loon’s mournful call, your images are so good, Jim – we imagined the call. I just hope our waters, lakes, and streams continue to provide sanctuary for these extraordinary birds.

  7. Serkanmutan says:

    Very nice shots jim. Cangrutulations

  8. Gorgeous photos! Keeps me humble!

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