two loons swim on Booth Lake in Ontario's Algonquin Provincial Park

Loon Echo

So many loons!

Not on the lake below our home; no loons grace Lake Allegan. But on a recent paddling trip in Canada, we were treated to near-constant loon company. I’ve always understood loons to be shy, so I was not expecting to see so many of them at such close range. The loons did not turn away as we paddled nearby. Sometimes, they even approached us, stopping just a few yards from our kayaks. Apparently, these Ontario loons see a lot of paddlers. Or, they simply share in the Canadian reputation for being extra friendly.

I saw some touching loon behavior—adults feeding their young, including one moment when a parent appeared to be teaching the child a food-finding skill. I also saw some comical loon behavior known as the foot waggle. I’ll share those moments in future blog posts.

My favorite loon encounter was the evening we were treated to a loon symphony.

We were drifting in our kayaks, waiting for sunset. Calls began to bounce across the water, through the canyon formed by tall pines lining Booth Lake’s north and south shores. The effect was a chorus in an echo chamber.

You can hear that echo in the video clip. You’ll see that the loons nearest our kayak appeared to be listening, not calling. But we could see more distant loons, outside my camcorder’s range for quality video, lifting their bills in song.

That evening’s sunset turned out to be ho-hum. But its orchestral accompaniment was spectacular.

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