If you are going to a resort in Minnesota, you will most likely be hearing and seeing loons. They are a big attraction for many vacationers. But, do you know very much about the Common Loon (Gavia Immer, if you want to be scientific)?
When we hear the loon’s call, many think it sounds very eerie. This weird, haunting cry sounds, to some, like a howl of the insane…… thus the term “Crazy as a loon.” I love listening to the loons. If you are vacationing by a lake, make sure to keep those resort cabins windows open to better be able to listen to the loons. Click here to listen to the hauntingly beautiful loon calls: Listen to loon calls! You will be able to select to listen to each distinct call.
I have now listened to that link many times. As I am typing this, there are actually loons calling right outside my window. That is what gave me the idea to write this blog. As a previous resort owner, most of our guests commented on the loons. Many have noted that it is one of their favorite sounds. It really is a draw for Minnesota Resorts.
Did you know that there are 4 distinct loon calls?
1. Tremolo: Maniacal laughter, is an aggressive call. This may be where you think of “Crazy as a Loon.” It is a crazy laugh. This call is in response to perceived threats. This threat can be territorial or a threat to their chicks. When I hear this call, it isn’t uncommon to see an eagle flying overhead threatening the chicks. Sometimes it is because humans are a little too close as well.
2. Yodel: Male loons guarding their territory. I learned a few things about this call as I was reading up on loon calls. I didn’t know that only the male loons Yodeled. Like the Tremolo, Loons yodel when they feel threatened. Remember they may feel threatened if humans come too close to them or their checks. So, if you see loons, stay away. Don’t approach them.
3. Wail, long drawn out sound. It is most commonly used for long distance communication between mated pairs of loons. It may be used when there is a perceived threat. The wail is frequently heard during the night chorusing.
4. Hoot: soft shorter call. It is typically used for short range communication between members of a loon family (paired adults and their checks). But they may hoot to communicate with rival loons.
I also found this link to learn about and Listen to loon calls!
You may be lucky enough to have loons where you live. However, many are not that lucky. When you come to many Minnesota Resorts, the loon calls are something you will experience. When you are resting in your cabin or camper or are sitting in a boat, by a lake or on a dock, pay attention to the sounds that you hear. Pay close attention to the loon calls. See if you are able to tell what they are saying.
Winter is just around the corner. Loons will be flying south. It isn’t too late yet to experience a loon call this fall!
Enjoy your time at the lake!
Submitted by Karen Senger
Resorter for 17 years,
now retired from resorting
Loon Preservation Committee