Tuesday, July 21, 2009 11:55pm CDT


I am sorry to keep all of you waiting for an update.  I have been gone a lot and so haven't really had a chance to write or to even monitor the loons closely.

It looks like one of the major questions you have is about the other loon parent.  I did not mean to alarm you unduly when I told the story of what went on with the dead snapping turtle.  I think...and I do say 'think' ... that the other loon is just fine.  But with me being gone a lot, I have not actually observed both parents with the chicks.  But that does NOT mean that there are any problems.

I am not concerned - if that helps to allay some of your concerns.

It is not unusual for there to be only one parent with the chicks,  especially as they grow older.  So it is more that I just have not been able to spend the time watching to catch both parents with the chicks.  I can tell you that both chicks look like they are doing just fine.

That is part of the reason also that I have not updated you because I was hoping to tell you that I had seen all four of them together.  And once again I apologize if I unintentionally caused you any undue concern or alarm.  I guess it just points out how much all of us care about these particular loons and chicks and we all hope they are doing ok.  Thank you for your concern!

Can you believe that the first chick was EIGHT WEEKS old today?!!

Where has the time gone?!

They have grown so much.  And now they are very proficient at diving and seem to actually enjoy it.  I assume they are catching some of their own fish now but they still take every fish that one of the parents bring to them.  Some of you have asked me to post pictures of them but unfortunately I do not have the telephoto lens that I need to do them justice.  As I have said before, I am afraid you would be looking at a "black dot" and would be even more disappointed.  (In fact, right now I do not have ANY camera!  I was pick pocketed in Jerusalem a few months ago and they got my camera!!  First time that has ever happened in my travels all over the world.)

In another 3 or 4 weeks, they will begin to fly and then they will truly start to become independent.  At that point, the bond between parent and chick starts to break and both of them start to go their own ways.  And then in September or October the adults will fly south and the chicks will follow them about a month later...October or November.

In what is yet one more amazing thing about loons, the parents and the chicks fly south separately!  The parents leave first.  And then the chicks find their way to the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic without ever having been there before!  How do they do it?  I have no idea.  It is another of those "I don't know how you did it but God you done good" moments!

And then even MORE amazing is that the chicks will spend the next THREE YEARS on the Gulf before they come back to Minnesota!

But we have another couple months before these beautiful friends leave the Great North.  So for now we enjoy every loon call that we hear at sunset or in the middle of the night.  We hang onto it and savor it.  And store it away in a special place in our memory to see us through the long silent winter months!

I hope that you get a chance to hear loons before the summer too soon comes to an end.  Enjoy them.  Teach people about them.  Respect them and teach your kids the wonder of loons.  And while you do, know that OUR loons are doing just fine.