Tuesday, May 19, 2009 6:36am CDT


45 degrees   Clear and Sunny   Wind  NE 11mph


As the bright morning sun just begins to touch the loon on the nest, it sits there ever faithful.  Carefully taking care of its two precious eggs.

It has now been almost 3 weeks of sitting on the eggs hour after hour.  Day after day.  Week after week.

But now the loons are in the home stretch.  In only a little over a week, the eggs should hatch.  And if all has gone well, there should be two little black downy loon chicks!  One can only begin to imagine that wonder of what is going on inside those eggs.  The majesty of creation of new life.  Of something out of nothing.  Things that are so far beyond our understanding and comprehension.  Oh. we know some of the "mechanics" of it.  But how does it all work?  We don't begin to have a clue.

But in another week or so, we will hopefully see the results of that miracle before our eyes!

You have watched how the loons get on and off the nest.  How they turn the eggs ever so carefully.  How they wiggle and rock as they settle down on them until they get them just right.  But what just doesn't fit with the grace and beauty of the loon swimming or sitting on the nest, is the awkwardness of the loon as it gets up on the nest.

Which brings us to where the loon got its name.

Sometimes we wonder why they are called loons.  We associate the name with someone being "loony" or crazy.  But it has nothing to do with that.

The description "loony" comes from the old belief that during the time of a full moon, some people would go crazy.  Hence, "loony" from the word "lunar" meaning moon.

However, linguists seem to think that the name loon actually came from a Scandinavian word "lum" or "loom".  One of the meanings of that word was "clumsy".  And clumsy sure fits the description of a loon on land.  They are very clumsy.  Almost to the point of being helpless on land.

As you have seen, they just sort of waddle and flop as they get up on the nest.  They definitely are not built for getting around on land.  And they are very clumsy.

But put them in the water!  That is a different story.  Here they are in their element.  Here they are at home.  THAT is their realm and their kingdom! 

So I don't really like the other associations of the name loon.  Crazy or clumsy.  Take your choice.  They don't do justice to these magnificent birds that we know as loons.  But now you know the probable origin of the name.


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