The breeding range includes Alaska and much of Canada south to portions of Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Common loons are water birds and live in lakes, estuaries, and reservoirs. Loons have a unique body shape "Because they live in the water, have webbed feet and act like a diving duck, many people incorrectly assume that loons are ducks," says Jones, who is the Ontario programs volunteer coordinator for Bird Studies Canada's Canadian Lakes Loon Survey. Many times a nesting pair of loons will reuse the same site the following year, refurbishing their old nest instead of building a new one. If fish are scarce or water is too murky for fishing, they will catch crustaceans, snails, leeches and even aquatic insect larvae. Waterbird conservation for the Americas: The North American waterbird conservation plan, version 1. Common Loons require clear, unpolluted lakes, and can be harmed by pollution and disturbances. that hardly leaves a ripple on the water’s surface. The Common Loon may live twenty years or more. They are excellent indicators of water quality as they require crystal-clear lakes (which makes it easier for them to see prey underwater) with abundant populations of small fish. They also require lakes with enough surface area for their flapping-and-running takeoffs across th… Lakes with coves and islands are preferred as they provide cover from predators while resting and nesting. Their range has retracted in New England as well, though loon populations have rebounded there thanks to restoration efforts. Then one of the loons crawls on top of the mound and shapes the interior to the contours of its body. They are only rarely found more than several miles offshore. This is from LoonWatch's Wisconsin Loon Population Survey conducted on one day every five years thus the next survey will be in 2010. Canoeists who get too close to a loon may witness this display, along with a defensive tremolo call as the loon swims away. Loon calls are used to communicate among family members and to maintain territories during the breeding season. What do common loons eat? 2- Do loons mate for life? In the continental U.S., surveys indicate Minnesota has the largest population of common loons with more than 10,000 adults. The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Washington, DC, USA. How long do common loons live? At times, loons can be seen sticking one foot up out of the water and waggling it—this may be a means of cooling off, as scientists have observed loons waggling their feet more often on sunny, midsummer days. When in danger, loons give a warning or distress call that Extensive banding and observation of marked loons in northern Wisconsin has shown that loons first return to the breeding grounds at age 2-5 years, with males tending to return nearer to their natal territory than females. Lutmerding, J. As winter approaches, loons migrate to Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Biologists suspect there are two primary reasons for back riding: Loons are a long-lived bird. For additional information on common loon territorial behavior, visit The Loon Project website provided by Dr. Walter Piper at Chapman University. Summer adults are regally patterned in black and white. Evers, D. C., J. D. Paruk, J. W. McIntyre, and J. F. Barr (2010). When their quarry changes direction, loons can execute an abrupt flip-turn that would make Olympic swimmers jealous: they extend one foot laterally as a pivot brake and kick with the opposite foot to turn 180 degrees in a fraction of a second. Why do common loons make calling noises at night? The oldest known common loon lived 25 years but their lifespan may be up to 30+ years. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. The common loon is the only species that nests in the Lower 48 states. How long does the loon chick ride on the parent's back? They need a runway. In winter, silent and more subtly marked, Common Loons inhabit coastal waters and large southern lakes. How long each year do common loons stay within their summer (breeding) range? Loons are found on freshwater lakes throughout Canada and parts of the northern US during the summer breeding season. The common loon may live twenty years or more. Loons(Order: Gaviiformes, Family:Gaviidae). By October and November, there are thousands of loons on the Bay. Scientists are monitoring satellite transmitters on loons to evaluate if and how they were affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Sauer, J. R., D. K. Niven, J. E. Hines, D. J. Ziolkowski Jr., K. L. Pardieck, J. E. Fallon, and W. A. Maine loons have short […] Loons spend the winter season along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Male and female loons are similar in appearance. Loons do all their feeding during the day, when they can best see their prey. Link (2017). How many loons are there in Wisconsin? : The Wisconsin loon population was estimated at 3400 adults and 800 chicks in 2005. Unmated loons as well as juveniles (which are too young to breed) can be found on salt water during this same season. Explore Birds of the World to learn more. In winter, they are plain gray above and white below, and you’ll find them close to shore on most seacoasts and a good many inland reservoirs and lakes. Not only do loons fly long distances, they have to get used to the change in their diet from freshwater prey to saltwater. Younger loons follow a month or so later. Do common loons return to the same place to nest where they were hatched and raised as chicks? It has been shown, though, that loons do take a new mate in the event of a mate's death or displacement by another loon. Additionally, states with breeding populations include Maine with approximately 4,100 adults, New York with more than 800 adults, and New Hampshire with about 500 adult common loons. Common loons are water birds and live in lakes, estuaries, and reservoirs. Mercury from the burning of coal can build up in lakes through rainfall, and this has led to poor reproductive success for Common Loons in Canada, New England, and Wisconsin. In spring, loon mates arrive back on their lake separately. If one year one of the mates doesn’t return, the other will quickly pair up with another mate. Common loons eat a variety of animal prey including fish, crustaceans, insect larvae, molluscs, and occasionally aquatic plant life. Loons are monogamous, and pair bonds typically last about 5 years. Common Loon (Gavia immer), version 2.0. Range. Though people on the surface only see loons disappear with a dive and reappear with a fish in their bill to be swallowed headfirst, their fishing pursuits underwater are something to behold. Breeding Pacific Loons are dapper birds with soft gray heads and intricate black-and-white patterning on the back and neck.