Thursday, December 4, 2014
Loons are a fixture of the north country and have attained a revered status here in Minnesota's lake region. They arrive early in spring, usually showing up on the very day that the ice goes out. After mating, nesting, and rearing one or two offspring, the adults migrate south in September to the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico, but the youngsters don't go with them. Somehow these newly fledged birds cluster in large numbers on the states largest lakes and then fly en mass to their wintering grounds just ahead of freeze up, sometimes not returning for another year and a half. This past fall during the first week of November, I saw hundreds of young-of-the-year loons on Big Winnie. Minnesota has more loons (est. 12,000) than any other state except Alaska.
Not so rarely, loons get into trouble with fishing lines and lures, landing on highways in rainy weather, poisoned by ingesting lead head jigs, and in the case of the story below - missing the bus to get the hell out of here before winter sets in.
Once in awhile the old Curmudgeon actually grins, and this story from the backyard did it, but I fear the young loon faces a steep curve toward recovery. Check this out........... and stay tuned.