Thursday, May 11, 2017 6:21 am CDT

44 degrees F   Clear   Wind 6 mph NE

Sunrise  5:48 am CDT   Sunset  8:32 pm CDT


This morning has already been an eventful one for our loons.  

The sun has just come up about half an hour ago on a clear morning and there is a  chilly breeze out of the north.

And already the female loon has been chased off the nest twice by two immature eagles circling over the nest!

Each time she went hurtling off the nest with a wail.  But she was back on the nest in a matter of minutes.

The crows are no more happy  with the eagle than our female loon is.  They are chasing the eagles and cawing loudly.

When I went outside to look to see where they were, one of the immature eagles circled directly over my head twice.

So while most of us sleep, the loons must be ever vigilant.

Last night the loons were also off the nest just about dusk for an extended time.  I could not see what was going on in the fading light.  But there were calls back and forth across the lake, including yodels and tremolos and wails.

Obviously there was at least one other loon on the lake although I did not hear more than wails from the direction it was in.  So I cannot tell if it was more than one loon or if it was a male.  But apparently it was enough to get the attention of both of our loons.

But after about half an hour off the nest, our male loon came back to the nest and settled on the nest for the night.

For those of you who may be new to watching the LoonCam, you may be wondering whether it is the male or the female loon on the nest at any given time.  I do, too!  And how you tell them apart.

For the most part you cannot tell the male from the female by their coloring or plumage.  They are identical.

Unlike many birds where the plumage of the male is very different from the female, with loons they have the same plumage and coloring.  The male usually is slightly bigger but only slightly.

After all these years of watching loons closely, I have gotten a few hints to differentiate between the loons.  But for the most part, I cannot tell them apart at all.

So the only way to tell them apart for sure is if they are banded.

The pair on the LoonCam nest this year can be identified that way.  The male has a green band on both his right leg and his left leg.  We were able to band him in 2012.

The female does not have any bands on her legs.

Those bands are the surest way for you to differentiate between the male and the female.

So while we go about our daily business, the loons go about theirs.  Always watchful.

Right now they have only one goal in life - to protect and hatch the two precious eggs on the nest.  It is what they have lived for all year long.

And we have the privilege of being able to witness this miracle up close!


Copyright 2017   Larry R Backlund