Sunday, June 12, 2011 5:49am CDT


45 degrees   Clear   Wind Calm


Banks of fog drift across the lake on a cool, quiet June morning.

The sun will burn the fog off soon.  But for now, there are two little loon chicks sitting on the calm surface of the lake.

They start to swim toward an adult who has just surfaced with a minnow in its beak.  It is quickly gobbled down.  Then the other adult surfaces with another minnow and just as quickly it is gone.  Both loons dive. This is no time to slow down.  

There are two little loon chicks that are hungry for breakfast.

And so dive after dive.  Minnow after minnow.  Time after time, the routine is repeated.

One of the times a small sunfish is brought instead of a minnow.

It is almost the size of a silver dollar.

It looks too big for the chick to swallow.  The adult loon holds it out for the chick.  The chick drops it.  But the adult immediately grabs it before it can get away.  The adult works on it with its beak in the water and then offers it again.

The other chick takes it but doesn't know what to do with something so big.  So it drops it as well.  Once again the adult loon works on it with its beak to prevent it from escaping.  The offering and failed attempts to swallow the sunfish happens several times.

Finally one of the chicks gets ahold of it just right and has it facing the right direction.

The chick stretches its neck as the sunfish is pointed head first down its throat.  Will it go?

It tries and tries.  It keep swallowing and gulping.

And then down the sunfish goes.  Several more gulps are necessary to keep it moving.  But it is down.  A big meal in those few gulps.

The chick sits for a minute or so.  But then it is ready for even more minnows.

The constant supply of minnows continues.

No wonder the chicks grow so fast with such a supply of food.

In fact, that is one of the requirements for a lake which will support loons.

It must have an abundant supply of small fish or minnows.  And it must have clear water.  Loons fish by sight.  And in order to catch the number of fish and minnows that they need not only for themselves but also for their chicks, they need to be able to have a clear view of the fish in order to catch them easily.

This morning the loons have exactly what they need.

The supply of small fish and minnows is endless.  And so it seems is the ability of the chicks to swallow everything that is brought to them.

At this rate, their survival seems guaranteed.


[Later tonight we will turn the Loon Cam off for the year.  But just know that right now the chicks are doing very well and thriving.]

Questions or Comments?