Loons - Lake Ouachita

Loons unusual cries, which vary from wails to tremolos to yodels can be heard echoing across the calm foggy waters of Lake Ouachita during winter and early spring.
No other sound in nature can match the magical call of the Loon.

Hear the call of the LoonsLoons on Lake Ouachita.

Common Loons are winter residents on Lake Ouachita and migrate back to the Northern U.S. and Canada to nest.

The call of the loons in the wild are distinct and can be heard at great distances. Loon cries are most prevalent during breeding season as pairs aggressively defend their territories.

Named for their clumsy, awkward appearance when walking on land, common loons are migratory birds which breed in forested lakes and large ponds in northern North America and parts of Greenland and Iceland.

Loons have striking red eyes, black heads and necks, and white striping, checkering, and spotting on their backs. They grow up to three feet  in length and weigh up to 12 pounds, feeding largely on fish and invertebrates.

Loons are unique birds, unlike most birds that have hollow bones for flight the loons bones are solid, and can dive more than 200 feet below the surface to find food.

Loons are awkward on land with their legs placed far back on their bodies. These water lovers only hit the turf to mate and incubate egg. They are superb swimmers and have been clocked in the air at 70 miles per hour.

If you’re out boating this winter and see a loon preparing for take-off, watch them use the water’s surface like an airstrip. They need 30 yards to a quarter mile to take flight. Since they are built for swimming, they actually cannot walk well on land. Their legs are too far back on their body.

 Loons can live up to 30 years.
Since loons use their eyesight to capture their food, they need clear water and healthy fish populations.
This is why Loons are used as an indicator for lake water quality.

They nest lakeside and incubate their eggs for 27 to 30 days. Hatchlings leave the nest on their first day and are able to fly in about 11 weeks.

Native American Loon Mythology

Loon populations are currently stable, but a number of threats loom, including human encroachment and pollution.
See the "The Loon Project" for more information.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Loons life history and sounds.

lakeouachita.org

 

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