Loon Chicks At Two Weeks

Our loon chicks on the easternmost pond I’m following, the ‘Easton’ family, are now two weeks old. There was lots of excitement on the pond this morning, with an intruding loon prompting a fairly active fight. This is the pond with the banded bird. The banders were unable to determine his sex when they banded him. He yodeled repeatedly this morning, identifying him as the male.

Admission to the pond has gone up to two bucks….
The chicks were napping with dad when I arrived. Mom headed off to forage by herself. The chicks soon woke, this one with a big yawn.
One of our chicks gives a good stretch.
Dad got the breakfast buffet going, once again heavy on the crayfish.
The intruder has just arrived on the pond! Dad has gone off to deal with the intruder, the chicks flattened out to hide.
Dad comes up with his wings out, displaying how big and tough he is in an attempt to get the intruder to go away.
The fight quickly escalates, lots of displays, lunges and wing rowing.
One of the loons – I think it was dad – coming out of the water with an aggressive display.
Another display, I’ve lost track of who is whom by this point.
One of the loons retreats with a short flight up the pond.
Mom has returned to join the fight. They’re back to circle dancing, sizing each other up.
The circling leads to another aggressive display.
One of the loons comes up in the penguin dance. This is an aggressive display warning that the loon will fight to protect the chicks and territory. Males do the dance more often than females.
Another round of penguin dancing, the loon is nearly clear of the water.
The displays set off another round of wing rowing.
More wing rowing.
The intruder retreats! The intruder took off and circled the pond very high above, calling continuously. Mom followed in flight, circling at a much lower altitude.
Dad rounded up the chicks and they settled in for a nap.
Eventually, the intruder departed. Mom returned to the family.
The resident great blue heron had arrived at some point, picking a tree with a good vantage to watch the proceedings.
Mom and dad set to work feeding the chicks again.
Our chicks aren’t tiny little fluff balls any more… One has climbed aboard for a nap.
As I was heading out, the resident osprey showed up to hunt.

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2 Comments

  1. Reply
    Ruth Stewart July 4, 2022

    I ‘paid’ my two bucks and really enjoyed the show, Ian. Thanks..

    • Ian Clark headshot
      Reply
      Ian Clark July 4, 2022

      The way prices are going up, next time admission will be a lot of doe…..

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