Saturday Morning With The Loon Family, August 21, 2021

August 21, 2021  •  3 Comments

Our loon chicks are now ten weeks old. I had a chance to visit them on Saturday. Both appear to be doing well. Both have grown considerably since I last visited (18 days ago). They're now nearly adult size. They're foraging on their own, but still want their parents to feed them. They're getting very independent, much of the morning the family was spread out over something like half a mile of pond. Both chicks surfaced with crayfish and I saw a couple instances where a chick brought up a fish to get it pointed in the right direction, but not sure if it was both chicks or one repeatedly. 

They've lost their fluffy look and are growing into their winter plumage. Their bills are elongated and now look like the adult's. 

Let's go back to when they were five and six days old. Notice their bills. 
Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

This chick surfaced close to my boat this morning, you can see the how the bill has changed. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

Loon chicks will pester their parents when they're hungry (which seems to be most of the time they're not sleeping). They'll poke and nibble their parent, usually around the neck, until the parent dives. The parents kept their distance from the chicks for much of the morning. They'd close up now and again and spend some time feeding the chicks. Several times I saw a chick try to approach a parent, only to have the parent dive and move away. They probably just needed some peace and quiet for a few minutes. 

Here's a chick closing in on one of the parents. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

And a few shots of the chicks pestering an adult.
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

The chicks are serious about getting attention. You can often see them grab hold of the adult's feathers. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
And when grabbing a few feathers doesn't get action, a bigger bite and twisting may do the trick. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

Now we're getting somewhere! One of the adults has caught a crayfish. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

The handoff!
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Oh no! It is one of those dastardly crayfish that wants to put up a fight!

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

Maybe a fish will be easier.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Yup, that works.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Of course, there's preening to be done. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
And a couple of stretches after they've done their preening. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
 


Comments

Linda Charron(non-registered)
Great pictures! Beautiful birds! Thanks for sharing! Love the Loons!
Rita Pitkin(non-registered)
Great pictures and explanations Ian. Thank you.
Sherry(non-registered)
These photos are great! A delightful 'day in the life of' ... Thank you for sharing & narrating!
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