Yesterday, VPR's Vermont Tradition (August 15, 2007) (click here the mp3 archive of the show) interviewed Eric Hanson of the VINS Vermont Loon Recovery Project. He gave us some interesting loon information:
Loons are swimming and flying birds. They leave the land after birth and may not touch land again for seven years, when they have their first chicks.
- In a 10 year period, a pair of loons will produce, on average, 5 living chicks.
- In Vermont, the loons are producing an average of 7 living chicks in 10 years.
- In Maine, the average is down to 3.
- The difference could be mercury pollution.
- There are now 200 loons in Vermont. I saw five of them!
- Loons share chick-raising responsibilities 50-50.
- Because of the sharing of chick rearing, and the same plummage, there is no way to tell which loon is male and which is female.
- Loons often will raise one huge foot out of the water and waggle it as if waving hello.
- This is probably a stretching movement and not a cooling mechanism.