My Summer With The Loons: Hoot Behavior
Late August, the weekend before Labor Day Weekend, I found a chance to kayak out again with my friend Cindy. This time, it was so foggy, we could barely see beyond the front of our kayaks. But foggy days have their own beauty . . . in the way water droplets cling to the lake grasses, and how the sun eventually burns through the fog to find you.
We kayaked all the way to the end of the lake by Range Pond State Park. We saw eagles fly back and forth. We heard their chicks hollering loudly for breakfast. A beaver slapped his tail on the water.
But no loons were seen.
Knowing I had to head back to open the camp store, Cindy and I turned back the way we’d come. It was then we heard a loon’s flying call. Swooping over our heads, it landed not too far away.
There was an answering call.
There they were!
Wow! The chick had grown!
They passed next to us, not paying us any mind. Cindy and I snapped a few photos, when suddenly, the adult hooted and dove.
The chick immediately sunk low in the water, like a submarine.
It was silent, looking left and right.
Cindy and I turned to see why the adult had left. Wouldn’t you know, just like the other times, our adult was hanging out with the one that had flown in.
Mama was protecting her chick yet again.
Cindy and I didn’t see any aggressive behavior between the two adults. It was more like they were checking in with each other. So, we turned back to see what the chick was doing, but . . .
it was gone!
We looked everywhere! There was still fog lingering in spots, not wanting to lift just yet, which made it hard to see.
Finally though, we saw it. Along the shoreline, in the fog bank.
The brave little chick.
When the second adult flew away, back to its own lake, our adult gave another hoot.
And the chick swam out for a reunion.
It got breakfast as a reward.
For quite awhile before heading in, Cindy and I watched these two. It was a beautiful sight.
Only four days later, after the weekend, and I was back out again to check on the loon family. School was starting the next day, and I knew I wouldn’t get out as much to see them.
You would think that watching the adult loons feed their chick would get boring after awhile. But every single time, it was a little bit different.
On this day, the adult brought back several fish to feed on. Even though I knew the chick could find its own food, it kept hooting for more.
And while the adult was busily hunting down the next snack, the chick ducked its head in the water, it dove, it looked around.
This one time, the adult came back with no food.
The chick looked a little confused. It hooted and waited. When the adult stayed, it hooted again.
The chick slowly approached.
Hooting softly a couple times, it came closer still.
It poked and prodded at at its parent.
Even pulled on a feather or two.
And when the adult had enough,
It dove away.
Our little chick had gotten its way!
And here comes Mom with another snack!
I’m not even sure what that is!
But it’s a mouthful!
Too much of a mouthful! Our little chick drops it . . .
And Mom has to go looking for it.
And Dad too, I guess!
I’m afraid that snack got away . . .
And our little chick is not very happy about it!
Will our little one ever learn to fish for itself? Check back and see.
Note: Teachers, please feel free to use these blog posts in your lesson plans for Cooper and Packrat’s first adventure; Mystery on Pine Lake. From this point on, my observations could be the observations of Cooper, Packrat and Roy after the final pages of the story.
Next Up: Will Our Little Chick Leave In Time!