Friday, May 20, 2011 7:28am CDT

61 degrees   Cloudy   Wind 2mph N
The loons continue their faithful vigil on the nest this morning.
They are now more than half way to the goal...two new little chicks.
Today promises to bring rain to the lake and our loons.  In fact, it should be rainy for the next several days with the possibility of thunderstorms this afternoon and tomorrow.
Some have asked how much 'territory' or how big a lake a loon needs or will protect.  
Some have said that they need at least 10 acres and I certainly would not argue with that.
However, a more important criteria is if the loons can stay out of sight of each other.  Therefore if a lake has many bays and fingers it probably can support more loons.  The loons are able to go back into those bays and most of the time stay out of sight of other loons whereas on a round lake with no bays, the loons are in sight of other loons most of the time and that raises the potential for confrontation.
Last night I watched as both loons were off the nest and swimming together.  The male was issuing his yodel call which is his territorial call.  I could see no other loons in sight.  But then from across the lake came the call of another loon.
The male would extend his neck parallel to the surface of the lake and yodel two or three times.
It was his way of saying 'this part of the lake belongs to me!  Stay away!'
A loon will often turn as he is making this yodel call as if to broadcast it to a larger section of the lake.  Normally I have seen them turn 45 to 90 degrees while making the call, just like 'beaming' it to different parts of the lake to let anyone and everyone know that he is here.
In some studies that have been done, loons tend to establish very specific lines which define their territories on a lake.  Invisible lines but lines nonetheless.  And they seem to know where those 'lines' are.
Someone asked about the 'high twilling whistle' which can be heard late at night.
I am not completely sure I know what you were hearing but I am almost sure.  It probably is frogs that you are hearing.  Specifically spring peepers.  They all join in a song that can almost be deafening at times.  It is one of my favorite sounds of spring.  When you hear the spring peepers sound begin their chorus it is one of the surest signs that spring is actually here.
Sit back, relax and enjoy our loons and all the good things of life!
Questions or Comments?