Wailing for our Loons . . .

Minnesota’s State Bird is the Loon. The bird’s cries on the lake throughout the summer are a treasured sound in this northern state of over 10,000 lakes. It is the sound I hear every night and most mornings during the summer … it is one of the reasons I wanted to live near a lake … it is a haunting sound I love.
To hear the loons cry, click here for a mix of sounds and more information or here if you would like to have the sounds broken down with their meanings.

The loons are beautiful and fun to watch, too. Graceful divers and water dancers that have no talents for walking on land. They are dedicated parents. One of my most memorable parenting observation of them took place about two years ago, when I had the rare opportunity to come upon a loon family teaching their young chick to dive. They worked together as a family unit with soft sounds of encouragement and guidance while using a demonstration method that said “follow me”.

These birds are very special and live a very vibrant life in Minnesota … nothing like their drab, boring life in the south during the winter. A Minnesotan visiting Florida, where the young live for their first 2-3 years of life and where most loons migrate in the winter, would never recognize the same bird as a Minnesota loon. Loons do not sing in the ocean and they do not have their decorative plumage … they simply are not the birds of our Minnesota summers.

Minnesotan’s are currently mourning the future loss of our loons … this will probably be our last normal summer with our loons. The number of loons in the State are expected to be much much lower next summer and the population may be permanently destroyed. Why? Because most of Minnesota’s loons will be heading to the Gulf of Mexico in about 2 months and the oil disaster will be there to greet them and kill them. We are helpless to prevent it … there is no way to warn the loons “don’t go to the gulf”, redirect them to a safer location or save them … unless a miracle clean up takes place before they get to the gulf this Fall.

This oil disaster is going to effect all of our migratory birds that fly there in the Fall … what will happen to the ducks and all the other birds that make the gulf their winter home? I am scared to think about it. Next summer is going to be very quiet without many of our normal summer birds … but, deathly quiet with out our iconic singing loons.

To hear more about the loon migration to the oily Gulf, Listen to Laura Erickson’s heartfelt article … Listen to it (4-5 min) or read her blog.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way animals are treated.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

~ by bearyweather on July 3, 2010.

2 Responses to “Wailing for our Loons . . .”

  1. Oh how lucky you are to be living near a lake and getting to hear loons talk 🙂 They are beautiful creatures!

  2. I know I am extremely fortunate to be able to live on a lake in the woods (with several other lakes just a short walk across the road). Some nights there is a loon chorus as each pair talks to the loons on neighboring lakes. That is what makes the likely loss of our loons to the gulf disaster so very sad … this maybe the last summer of loons.

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