Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First Flight of a Common Loon

Michelle and I have always been fascinated with loons.
Maybe the reason is because the common loon is the Minnesota State Bird, or perhaps it is their striking red eyes and haunting call
Whatever the reason I was pretty excited when I found this young loon at Crex Meadows working on trying to take its first flight.
Loon chicks are able to swim almost immediately after they hatch, although they spend much of the first week on their parents back, however it takes a couple of months before they are ready to fly.Since loons eat primarily fish and aquatic invertebrates they are built for diving under the water. Their legs are set back on their body to assist in swimming underwater but this makes them awkward when they come on shore during mating and nesting season. They also do not have hollow bones like most birds. This makes them heavier which helps them underwater but it also makes it more difficult for them to get up into the air. They need a long runway and often appear to be running across the water as they take off.


lotusleaf said...

Surprising to know that loons don't have hollow bones like other birds.

sunflowerkat321 said...

I think trying to capture photos water birds taking off and landing is great fun. It certainly takes some practice and skill. You did a beautiful job.


indicaspecies said...

Awesome captures.

Cecilia Artista said...

Lovely shots of the loon!

KaHolly said...

Excellent series of shots. Loons are one of my favorites, too. I love to watch as they wrestle with a too-big fish with patience and finesse!