Monday, June 2, 2014 5:12 am CDT

63 degrees    Cloudy and Rain     Wind Calm

Sunrise  5:28 am CDT     Sunset   8:55 pm CDT

Expected Egg Hatching Sometime Friday June 6 to Wednesday June 11

The male loon once again has taken the long overnight shift on the nest.

In fact, according to faithful observers here he may have been on the nest since about 2:30 pm yesterday afternoon.  If that is true and there wasn't a nest change that observers missed, that would make it almost 15 hours on the nest for him already!

The amount of time spent on the nest by each of the loons has certainly been an interesting observation this year.  And for the first time ever, we have been able to see definitively who is who because of the bands on the legs of the male.

Is this the norm for division of nesting duties?

It goes against all conventional wisdom.

But it certainly is interesting to watch and it sure gives a whole new insight into loon behavior.  Insight that would not be possible without the LoonCam.

This is the only place in the world that you can watch something like this.  This close of a view of a Common Loon on its nest.  Something that none of us would ever be able to do in nature.

We have been doing this for over 10 years.  The LoonCam is one of the first live webcams of any kind in the world with this kind of a closeup view of nature.  Now webcams have become more and more common.  

Don't take this the wrong way, but eagle cams have almost become a dime a dozen.  I don't mean to minimize them in any way.  They are wonderful and we all enjoy them.  There are a lot of them.  But there is only one place that we can go to see loons.

There is only one LoonCam!

As you watch our loons today, watch for something as the loons make their nest change.

As graceful and beautiful as loons are on and in the water and as fast as they can fly in the air, loons are NOT graceful as they try to get around on land.

In fact, they are downright clumsy and comical.

They are almost helpless on land.

When the loons come up out of the water and get onto the nest, you will see that they move with difficulty.

In fact, there are some that speculate that the loon may have actually gotten its name from a Swedish word meaning 'clumsy'. The Swedish word is "lom".

But wherever the name came from, clumsy sure fits their movement on land.

Why is that so?

Let's do a little exercise to illustrate why it is so hard for loons to get around on land.

Hold your arm out in front of you [those of you who have been here for a few years know what we are going to do.  But do it with us.]

Spread your fingers out and wiggle them.

Now pretend that your arm and hand and fingers are the leg of a chicken.

Your upper arm would be the chicken's drumstick.  Your lower arm would be the lower part of the chicken's leg and your hand and fingers would be the chicken's foot.

Now with both your arms, pretend that you are a chicken walking.  See how it feels as you move your arms like you are walking with them.

That is how a chicken walks.

But let's look at how a loon walks.

Once again, hold your arm out in front of you.  But this time, hold the upper part of your arm (the 'drumstick') tight against your body.  Don't let the upper part of your arm move away from your body.

Now try to 'walk' like you did before, moving only the lower part of your arm and your hand and fingers.

A big difference in being able to 'walk', isn't there?!

That is the difference between a chicken walking and a loon walking.

Because where the chicken's whole leg is free to move, only the lower part of a loon's leg can move freely.

The "drumstick" on a loon is encased in the loon's body skin!  It cannot move freely.

There is a big difference in the feel of walking like a chicken and walking like a loon, isn't there?

Now you know why a loon has such difficulty moving around on land.

As you look at the loon when they get on the nest, you can see that the leg comes out of the body skin way at the back of the loon's body.  The drumstick is tightly encased in skin all the way down to the knee joint.

And this makes it very difficult for a loon to get around on land.

Now you can show your friends and family that you know how to "walk like a loon"!

Questions or Comments?  LoonCam (at) yahoo (dot) com

Because of the volume of mail, I won't be able to reply to each one personally.  But I do  eventually read each and every one.  And I will try to answer some of the questions here on the blog.

Copyright 2014  Larry R Backlund