Friday, July 3, 2009 11:47pm CDT


68 degrees   Dark with chance of rain overnight    Calm


I know some of you may be wondering how the loons are doing since it has been almost 2 weeks  since I have updated you.

The short answer is that they are doing very well!

They are already just over 5 weeks old.  The first chick hatched 5 weeks ago Tuesday noon and the second chick hatched 5 weeks ago Wednesday night.  They are at the point now that they will probably make it to "semi-adulthood" and will be able to fly south this fall.  That is barring some tragedy or some disease.

They are already probably 3/4 the size of an adult loon.  It is so hard to believe that they have grown so fast.  Five short weeks ago we first saw them as the little balls of black down peeking out from under the adult loon on the nest.  So cute.  So vulnerable.  So full of life.

But now they are looking more and more like a loon every day.  They have the familiar general body shape.  Their bills have lengthened markedly since we first saw them with the short bills when they hatched.  They are sort of in their "teenage" stage.  Definitely looking like a loon and yet with the wild "tously hair" which is still gray down instead of feathers.  It will be another five to seven weeks before they will make their first attempts at flying.

Once they are able to fly, they will then become more and more independent from their parents.

Both chicks are able to dive quite well now.  And that bodes well for tomorrow - the Fourth of July.  Because tomorrow there will be a lot of boat traffic and fishermen and water skiers and jet skis all over the lake in celebration of the holiday and of summer.

Once again the loons will have to be careful and ever alert for boaters who will not necessarily be alert for them!  But unlike earlier this summer, the chicks can now dive to get out of the way of boats.  They still are not nearly as proficient at diving as their parents are, but at least they stand a chance of getting out of the way of boats.

I saw them - all four of them - out in front of my place earlier this evening.  And I thought of so many of you who watched the LoonCam and took the loons into your heart and your thoughts.  So I wanted to give you a report of how they are doing.  They were sitting on a calm lake on a beautiful Minnesota summer evening.  They were relaxing.  They were diving and still bringing fish to the chicks.  They were preening.  They were just being loons.  And it was a wonderful scene to behold!

So you can relax in knowing that OUR loon family is doing well.  But for those of you who will be out on lakes in loon country, encourage whoever is driving the boat to be aware of loons and to give them their space.  And well all will be able to enjoy loons for many generations to come if we take care of the ones we have now.

For those of you in the United States, have a wonderful Fourth of July holiday!  Enjoy your friends and your family and everything that God has placed in your life.  Including loons!