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01 Apr

I love this time of year when I realize the loons are back from wintering in the south.  They stop by for a few weeks and then fly north for the rest of the spring and summer.  While on my early morning walk last Saturday, I heard them calling and answering one another for quite some time.  For those who may not have ever heard a loon, they have a haunting sound to their call. In fact, according to http://www.ns.ec.gc.ca/wildlife/loons/images.html, loons have four basic calls heard mostly in the spring and summer.

The hoot call is not as intense or as loud as the other calls. It is used to keep in contact with mates, chicks and social groups residing or visiting the same lake. The tremolo has been described as “insane laughter”; it is 8 to 10 notes voiced rapidly which vary in frequency and intensity. This alarm call usually indicates agitation or fear, often caused by disturbance from people, a predator or even another loon. This is also the only call that loons make in flight. The wail is most frequently given in the evening or at night, and can be heard for many miles. This haunting call is not an alarm call but is used to keep in contact with other loons on the same lake and surrounding lakes. The yodel is only made by male loons. This call is used to advertise and defend their territory, especially during incubation and early chick-rearing. If you are watching loons and they make this call or a tremolo, it usually means that you are too close and are disturbing the loons. If that happens, you should leave their territory and give them their space.

I told two of my grandsons Easter morning while we were walking that they should listen for the loons.   The younger grandson asked me what they sound like.  Unable to mimic them myself, I searched my iPhone and brought up this site for them to listen and hear for themselves that haunting hoot, tremolo, wail, and yodel.  They were in awe at what they learned that morning. 

Go ahead….click this link and enjoy their sound for yourself  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ENNzjy8QjU).

 

 


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