Loons – Our favorite bird

 

 One of the most exciting ambassadors to the summer season in the Lakes Region is the return of the loons to their summer waters. Just as soon as the ice is gone from the lakes, this majestic bird flies in from its winter residence, the open ocean water, to grace the lakes with the beauty of their silhouettes at sunset and their haunting calls of the wild.

Situated just on a hill across the road from Squam Lake, our guests are always fascinated with hearing the loons. And for some travelers, especially our international visitors, it is a unique experience they savor as one of their favorite memories staying at the Manor on Golden Pond. Sitting in one of our adirondack chairs on the front lawn in the late afternoon or early evening is bliss listening to the loons as they define their boundaries or call to each other good night. It’s a ritual even local residents treasure as much as the mountains and fresh air.

The loons are as much a part of the essence of Squam Lake as the water itself and summer wouldn’t seem the same without these amazing birds

These large diving birds incubate their eggs in nests very close to the water beginning in May until about the first of July. Chicks are able to swim right after hatching but spend a lot of time ‘riding’ on the parent’s backs to keep warm and avoid predators such as snapping turtles and seagulls.

They are built for swimming and diving but become quite clumsy on land with legs placed far back for optimum water maneuvering but a terrible strategy for getting around on terra firma. 

Loons spend their days resting in the water and diving for minnows, perch and other little fish so important to their diet. They need a great distance to take off from a lake ‘running’ on the surface into the wind. And at night, they will seek deep water to float over far from shore and the perils of ambush.

Each year we watch for these magnificent birds as we watch the ice disappear on Squam Lake and wait for the explosion of spring and summer we know is stirring not long after their arrival.

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