Washburn County has had a significant common loon population for the first part of this century on many of its lakes and rivers. All of Wisconsin is home to about 4,350 loons. The loon is a favorite bird for many, perhaps due to its distinctive melodic calls and streamlined black and white body with shimmery greenish black head. Loons are excellent divers, capturing their daily diet of fish, preferably perch ten inches or less, and showing off their diving expertise going down up to 200 feet. They are an admired symbol of the Northwoods.
Who are these beauties?
Common loons, the only species of loon that lives in the lower forty-eight states, arrive on Wisconsin lakes as soon as the ice leaves in mid-to-late April. While loons are creatures of habit often returning to the same lake, they don’t migrate as a pair and may have several partners during their lifespan of 25-30+ years. A pair of loons will work together to build their nest consisting of mud, leaves, grasses, or they will use existing islands or quiet shoreline with natural vegetation. Most loons in Wisconsin are nesting by mid-to-late May, with eggs beginning to hatch a month later. Loons typically lay only one to two eggs at a time. Adults begin flying south in late August