Any true Minnesotan knows what I am talking about when I simply say the Minnesota State bird. You can picture it in your head already, black with white spots, a black bill and black head that shimmers a bit of an iridescent green when you're close enough to see and we can't forget it's signature red beady eyes. Yes, I am talking about the Loon.

The Common Loon:

Photo by Paul Crook on Unsplash
Photo by Paul Crook on Unsplash
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The common loon to be mores specific and not to get confused with other species of loons such as: The Arctic Loon, Pacific Loon and the Yellow-billed Loon.

For those that may not know, the name of the loon is based upon how the bird "walks" on land. Being that it's webbed feet are placed far back on it's body, making it top heavy, it looks rather clumsy or "loony" when it walks on land. In water, they are incredibly graceful looking, and are amazing swimmers that can dive up to 250 feet!

Photo by J-Photos on Unsplash
Photo by J-Photos on Unsplash
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It really is a fascinating bird and being a Minnesotan, I pride myself in it being our state bird for numerous reasons. But recently it's because I was reminded how fearless these birds can be, especially when it comes to protecting their chicks.

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A recent post via Reddit had user @Hey_HaveAGreatDay sharing a video of an Eagle trying to nab a loon from the lake up North near Park Rapids, MN. The Eagle (a common predator to the loon) however, was not able to get it's prey this time and you can hear the loon use it's tremolo call, which is what loons use as a response to a threat near them. Hear it for your self...

After watching that, did you think what I thought? There's more than one loon call to this majestic bird? That is correct. There are FIVE different calls you can hear from loons I have discovered.

  • The Tremolo:

As described before is the call loons give to alert perceived danger or threats in the area and is often known as "the crazy laugh", where you might also get the expression "crazy as a loon". Can also be used to announce it's presence. As one reddit reader responded what the loon used,

Probably trying to draw the eagle away from the nest.

  • Yodeling:

A call that can only be heard by a male to mark his territory and each male's yodel is unique to itself.

  • Hoots:

Are a more gentle or softer sound that loons use to stay in contact with one another.

  • Cooing:

Not one as commonly known since it is usually used in the nest or when loons are close together or even courting.

  • Wailing:

Sounds worse than it is, but we hear it often when loons are determining each other's location. Is often heard at night.

To learn a little more on the calls and listen go HERE.

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash
Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash
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So not only does this awesome bird have five different sounding calls, it proved that it's quite fearless. The loon fends off an Eagle for crying out loud...an EAGLE!

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash
Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash
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You know, our National Bird that has giant talons, wingspans of up to seven and a half feet, and a curved beak that is specific for eating their prey. It's even been put on record that loons have killed Eagles before to protect their chicks, read one of those incredible stories right HERE.

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I don't know about you, but "Call of the wild" just took on a whole new meaning to me and my respect for our Minnesota State Bird has only grown. So next time you see the Loon swimming along, show it some respect and be sure to give it a little space.

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