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Common Loons ...

I photographed this nesting pair of loons on a medium sized pond in Vermont. It was a remarkable experience to watch and photograph them for three days while I waited for their two eggs to hatch and observe their behavior the entire time. For now I'm just putting a few images up - I will write a detailed article on loons in the near future.

If you'd like to hear the four primary loon calls and you use Internet Explorer 7, try putting your mouse cursor over (but don't click on) the calls below and you'll probably hear them. Otherwise you'll have to click on them, whereupon a new window should open with whatever utility that plays sound on your computer.
hoot tremolo wail yodel (source of sound recordings: Environment Canada)



Rolling the egg - the parents swap turns on the nest about every 4 hours or so, and periodically roll the eggs.
Peter Larsen's loon photos

This chick is about 24 hours old.
Peter Larsen's loon photos

Here's the same chick being offered his first ever meal.
Peter Larsen's loon photos

Finally taking his first taste.
Peter Larsen's loon photos

The loon's open beak might suggest vocalization, but he (or she) is not making a peep - he's panting in an attempt to cool himself. Heat clearly is an issue to loons while they're out of the water on a 90 degree day; they're fine in the water on a hot day. A nice quality of these loon photos is they show zero agitation on the loon's part. Loons telegraph emotion like no other bird - when they're agitated they puff-up their forehead feathers, giving their forehead a squared appearance. Most loon photos you'll see show the square-ish head - that's because most wildlife photographers don't recognize the communication and unknowingly document their subject being annoyed at the photographer's presence.