Wednesday, May 27, 2009 5:41am CDT


46 degrees Cloudy Wind N 8mph


Was yesterday enough of a roller-coaster ride for you?!!!

After all that happened last evening, I thought I would be able to relax. Knowing the chick was safe and both parents were there. But little did I know that shortly after darkness fell, the alarm calls from both loons would start again. They called over and over. Endlessly.  My mind immediately thought the worst.

They must have lost the chick in the darkness. To who knows what great evil that lurked in the black night!

And they called and they called.

At least in the light I could see what was going on!

In the darkness I could not see anything. But I sure could think the worst.

I finally could not take it any longer and shut the window and the door to shut out the sound. I told myself that it was because the wind had picked up and because it had turned colder. But as much as anything, it was to shut out the sound of those calls. To try to forget what might be happening out on a dark, cold, windy lake. To a little loon who had not even spent a full day in this new world yet.

To a little loon who had already seen more than was fair.

So you can imagine what a relief it was at first light this morning to catch that first glimpse of our new little chick.  And to see that he had made it through the long dark night!  That he was alive and ok.

One loon was on the nest.  And the other loon was swimming next to the nest with the little chick swimming next to it.

Almost immediately the loon on the nest, who had probably spent most of the night there, seemed very anxious to get off the nest.  So (s)he dove off and the other one got up on the nest.  But instead of staying with the chick, the loon dove and swam far away from the nest!

Our little chick was once again swimming around the nest.  Around and around.  Trying to get up on the nest and not being able to.  And the loon on the nest once again started calling.  Over and over as the chick swam on his own.


No, no, no!

I cannot go through this again!

What is this?  The movie "Ground Hog Day"?!!

Are we doomed to repeat this scenario and concern over and over and over?

The swimming loon seemed to pay no attention.  What kind of a parent are you?  Get over here!  Let this little chick ride on your back before some big fish gets him.  But no matter how much I thought that thought, it didn't help.  I guess my loon clairvoyance was not working this morning, because the loon sure was not getting the message.

And the calling continued.  And the chick kept swimming.  And I was sure that bass and northerns were lurking nearby.  Just waiting for breakfast.

And our chick swam and swam.  All on his own.  So lonely.  So vulnerable.  So heart-breakingly cute.

But then as if by an unseen hand, he was on the nest!  A combination of a jump and an opportune wave coming along at just the right time, up he went on the nest.  And he scampered under the wing of his parent!  Safe and sound.  And hopefully warm and protected.  And able to get some well-deserved rest!

Now will you all just stay there?  I can't take much more of this.

And NOW the other loon comes swimming up to the nest.  Oh sure, NOW you show up!  Where were you when the chick needed you just a few minutes ago?!?!

How we project our feelings onto the loons.  How we think we know what they should do.  How we know better than they do of how they should respond.  How we anthropomorphize.

So now we have one safe little loon under the wing on the nest.  And also one egg under the wing on the nest.

During the "shift change", I got a partial view of the second egg.

It did not look like there were any holes or cracks.  But it was so quick and so incomplete a view that I could not be sure.

Today may very well be the day that the second egg hatches.  Even though they were laid 2 1/2 days apart, they sometimes hatch closer to each other than that.  It is sometimes called catch-up.  Where the second chick develops quicker than the first.  Once again, one of those great imponderable questions!  How can that be?  How does that work?

A friend of mine, who is one of the bird experts with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, has been an invaluable help in this whole project.  And he feels that the chicks actually communicate with each other while they are still in the eggs and that it somehow may speed up the development of the second chick.  Sort of like your second child learning to talk and do so many other things earlier and quicker than the first.  Because he has a "small teacher" who speaks his language!

Who knows if that is the reason.  But sometimes the second egg hatches sooner.

Just simply based on when they were laid and when the first one hatched. one would expect the second one to not hatch until tomorrow night.  But I would not be at all surprised to see it hatch even yet today!

Once again we wait.

Once again we watch.

And once again we try to keep our heartbeat in check.

Several of you have talked about you need some medication for your mental well-being in this whole drama that is unfolding before our eyes.  So have it handy today.  Who knows what today will bring.

Who would have thought last night that we would have had the drama we had after a perfect day for a perfect little chick to be born into a perfect world?!  And then an eagle and some wind and some cold and some things that go bump in the night turned the chick's world upside down for a while.  And in the process caused our hearts and our minds to do unbelievable flip-flops and contortions!

But through it all, we are once again reminded of the wonder of it all.  The magnificence of life.  The amazing work of creation of life out of nothingness.   But how sometimes that life hangs by such a fragile strand.

So today, buckle your seat-belts.  It may be a bumpy ride.

But bumpy or not, it will be enough to take your breath away!  With wonder.  With fear.  With amazement.  With surprises.  With heart-stopping concern.  With unbelievable joy.  With a renewed sense of awe of life and creation and the beautiful world that we live in and with all that we are given.


Questions or Comments or Observations?  Post them here or in the Chat Room or send them to  I am trying to get through all of them and respond where a response is called for.