Monday, June 28, 2010 10:12pm CDT


62 degrees  Clear   Wind N4mph


What a spectacular evening!

After all of the heat and humidity and storms over the last week or so, we are now into a stretch of perfect weather.  Sunshine.  No humidity.  Bright blue skies.  Light breezes.  And tonight  a spectacular sunset.

Golds and reds and crimsons and purples.  And bright rays of sun shooting up into the sky from below the horizon.  And all of it reflected in the bright blue water of the lake.  These long days of summer give the extended times of twilight that are so magical.  And so practical.  They allow you to get caught up on lawn mowing until almost 10pm!

I wanted to update you on a couple things.

A couple days ago, the loons paid a visit and came swimming by.  They came in quite close to shore and near the nest which has been pulled into the shallows by the dock.  It was like they were just taking a drive through the old neighborhood to see where they had lived and what was happening with the neighbors.  They did not stay long but just long enough to show that they still remembered and had an interest in the area.

Most of the time I do not see much of them during the times I am home.  But an occasional glimpse here and there is always nice.  They look like they are in very good health and doing well.   A couple times I have seen them with other loons on the lake.  And it is always so special when you hear them calling at night.

They don't call near as much as when they are defending territory or when they have chicks, but the occasional call is still enough to stir the soul deeply!

So rest assured that they seem to be doing well.

Some of you have asked about seeing groups of loons together and wondered if this was normal.

If they are not defending nesting territory or if they do not have chicks, it is quite normal.  Typically these would be loons that have not mated or loons who do not have chicks for whatever reason.

As you know, loons stay down on the Gulf of Mexico for the first 2 or 3 years of their lives.  But even when they come back north, they usually will not mate until they are 5 or 6 or 7 years old.  So the groups of loons that you are seeing could be some of these loons that have not yet mated.

The other thing that I wanted to update you on is the loon with the 'bad leg' that Susan and her son rescued.

I talked with the good people at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota this afternoon.

The loon seems to be doing well but has a long way to go yet.

X-rays did not show any broken bones, which is good.  They feel that the reason the leg is stretched out behind is either because of soft tissue damage or possibly nerve damage.  There is no way to tell at this point what caused the injury.

I was especially concerned when I heard the words "possible nerve damage".  But they assured me that nerves can and often do heal themselves and that it is not an automatic bad diagnosis.  So all they can do is watch and wait and take care of the loon while it hopefully heals and can be released back into the wild.

However, with loons time is the enemy.

Whereas many birds can survive and even thrive in captivity, loons do not do well in captivity at all.  And few survive.  Ask yourself, when is the last time you saw a loon at a zoo.  You probably never have because there are very few zoos that even attempt it because loons are almost impossible to keep in long term captivity.  They truly are birds of the wild and part of the reason that we so identify their calls with the great wilderness areas of the north.

The folks at the Wildlife Center have graciously told me that they will try to let me know of the loons progress so that I can pass the word on to you.

If you would like more information about the Center itself, you can find them at

They treat thousands upon thousands of animals each year.  They are the second largest center like this in the US, second only to a center in California.  However, the California center also treats raptors, which the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota does not.  But we are also fortunate enough to have the Raptor Center [] here in Minnesota which is also a world-renowned center.  They told me that when you combine the figures of the Wildlife Rehab Center with those of the Raptor Center, no one else in the country comes close to the number of animals treated.

So we can thank the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for all of their good work, including the x-rays that they did on our loon eggs a couple weeks ago!

They also got another loon in yesterday from Wisconsin!

You will remember that I told you how during rainstorms loons (and other waterbirds) can sometimes mistake highways and parking lots for bodies of water and land on them.  Ducks and other waterbirds can take off when they realize their mistake.  But a loon is trapped.  He cannot take off without a long body of open water.  And so he will die unless he is rescued.

Someone was kind enough to rescue this loon also and bring him to the Rehab Center.  They said he was in good shape except for some abrasions on the bottoms of his feet.  He will also be released when it seems safe to do so.  That release will probably before "Sue's Loon" is able to be released.

So that brings you up to date on both our loons and also the loon that was rescued.

I will try to let you know of any other information as I get it.

So until we talk again, I hope all of you have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!

And watch out for loons while you are out on the lake.