Loons...

Summer 2006 CSANews Issue 59  |  Posted date : May 28, 2007.Back to list

  • Loons are reported to be among the oldest groups of birds still living today; their origin is thought to have been more than 50 million years ago.
  • Loons sleep on the water, with their head tucked into their feathers. Loons prefer to sleep over the deepest part of the lake.
  • Loon chicks are dark grey to brown in colour, allowing them to be camouflaged on the water and therefore, less visible to predators. Another reason for this colour is that it absorbs the sun's heat, thereby keeping the chicks warm.
  • The incubation period (the length of time from when the eggs are laid to when they hatch) is about 28 days; both parents take turns sitting on the eggs.
  • The major predators of loon eggs and chicks are gulls, raccoons, large fish such as pike and muskellunge, snapping turtles and other loons. Adult loons, with sharp beaks to defend themselves, have few predators except people.
  • The main diet of the loon consists of fish. While loons will eat any fish they catch, they prefer prey fish such as alewife or yellow perch. They will also feed on crayfish, frogs, snails, salamanders and leeches.