2012 – 9 A Loon’s Story

A Loon’s Story


Hair-raising, bloodcurdling, magical have been used to describe the loon’s call. Often heard at dusk or dawn echoing across wild mountain lakes, I think a loon’s cry is one of true wilderness.

This loon spent the summer with his mate on a big lake in British Columbia, helping to raise their family of two on the almost-floating nest of grasses they carefully built. Then on a fishing trip into the deep mountains, he had clumsily landed on a small forest-lined lake and found he couldn’t take off – there just wasn’t enough ‘runway’ for the ancient design of his solid-boned body. After two weeks, an early fall gale aided his departure but by then his family had headed southwest – and so he did too. Now on salt water in the Salish Sea he was content to fish, sometimes diving to 300’, deeper than any other bird.

The loon will be here in our Salish Sea from September to May, when he’ll again head back to his corner of that same lake, defend it against other males and hopefully find a receptive female that will begin the process again. While not sporting their elegant iridescent black and white summer colors, these goose-sized birds are still spectacular to see. Keep your eyes open for them.

Larry paints and blogs about wild places at larryeifert.com. His work can be seen in many national parks across America.

<< previousnext >>