39 degrees F Cloudy Wind Calm
Sunrise 5:45 am CDT Sunset 8:34 pm CDT
The first light of morning appears and our loon is already awake and looking around.
The morning song of so many birds fills the air.
Little zephyrs of breeze move around but are barely enough to stir the surface of the water.
All is peaceful.
Last night a number of people viewing just as it was getting dark, heard the male loon on the nest call and quickly leave the nest just as the reflection of some large bird was visible in the calm surface of the lake as it flew very low over the nest.
The way the loon reacted, I assume it was a bald eagle.
But when I went and looked, I could not see an eagle in the area or in one of the neighboring trees. But it was getting so dark it was hard to see.
It could have also been a great blue heron. But loons normally do not react to them in the panicked way that the male loon reacted to whatever flew over. We have a number of great blue herons who regularly walk the shoreline looking for fish and frogs.
When they are surprised, herons take off with a loud croaking sound.
It is amazing to me how loons can distinguish an eagle from almost all other birds.
I have watched ospreys and herons and crows fly over and the loons hardly pay attention to them.
But let an eagle fly over and the loons loudly express their concern.
They innately seem to know from thousands of years of experience that eagles are one of the few birds that pose a threat to them or their chicks.
I have watched eagles chase our loons off the nest and then repeatedly dive on them and chase them all the way across the lake.
That happened a number of years ago on one very cold and windy and rainy morning.
The eagle chased the loon all the way across the lake as the loon dove for cover over and over. Each time it came up, the eagle would dive on it. Again and again.
During the time the loon was off the nest, three very large waves washed over the nest and filled the nest bowl with ice cold water.
I knew we had lost the eggs.
But if I remember right, miraculously one of the eggs actually hatched. However, the other egg did not.
When we x-rayed it later, there was a chick inside that had been developing. But its development had stopped about the time that the wave had covered it with cold water.
On three different occasions through the years, I have heard the loons calling and have gone to look to see what was disturbing them.
There were no people nearby.
No boats. No canoes. No eagles.
But they kept calling.
Then when I looked straight up, high in the sky above me was not much more than a black dot.
I had to strain my eyes to even make it out.
But there was an eagle circling high overheard.
How the loons could even see the eagle was amazing. Let alone know that it was an eagle and not some other bird.
But distinguish it they did. And they knew that it was something that was a danger not only to their nest but to them as well. Eagles are one of the few if not the only avian predator that is large enough to even try to take an adult loon.
And loons know it.
Loons are one of the oldest of the bird species. Some say they go back 65 million years. Almost to the time of the dinosaurs.
They have had a lot of time to figure out who is their enemy and who is not!
So today, let's hope for bluebirds and herons.
And no eagle attacks.
If you have any comments or questions, you can either comment here or at LoonCam at yahoo.com. Because of the number of emails, I am not able to answer each one personally. But I do eventually read all of them. And if there is a question that a number of people have, I try to answer it at some point here in the blog.
The weather is supposed to be warming over the next several days. Back closer to normal May temperatures. Maybe even 80 by Saturday.
But there is supposed to be more rain tomorrow and scattered thunderstorms over the next few days.
We can use the rain and the loons do not mind the rain at all.
They are not predicting any severe weather at this point.
So let's hope for blue birds, blue sky, gentle breezes.
And loons on the nest!
Copyright 2015 Larry R Backlund