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Common Loon Chicks Riding High

July on a lake occupied by nesting Common Loons is a birder’s slice of heaven.  Eggs are hatching, day-old fluff balls are riding high on their parents’ backs, parents are busy catching and delivering small fish and crayfish to their chicks, and survival lessons are being given. Recently while watching a pair of two- or three-day-old chicks whose parents were off obtaining their offspring’s next meal I observed a juvenile Bald Eagle, known predator of Common Loon chicks, soaring overhead.  Within a split second both loon chicks dove and stayed submerged long enough for the eagle to give up the ghost. Nature or nurture?

To see a related entertaining phenomenon, go to https://loonproject.org/2019/06/29/unlikely-allies/?fbclid=IwAR0po44dJaElcyYpqKqLwaz9A6gs7RxWfhJRkoB-QleC7sUGnjgElksR5G4.

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8 responses

  1. This photo made me smile, thank you.

    July 15, 2019 at 8:13 am

  2. Will Lange

    Must be nature. I never expressed anything but pleasure at great blue herons, but whenever one took off near us, my old dog dove under the canoe seat.

    July 15, 2019 at 8:32 am

  3. There is sadness on Lake Dunmore this year. Our nesting pair lost both eggs, maybe to high water that chilled the nest. No riding chicks for us!

    July 15, 2019 at 8:46 am

  4. Alice

    I think a lot of instinct is involved. Good thing the Eagle didn’t come in for a second try. Animals are very aware.

    July 15, 2019 at 8:49 am

  5. Kate Schubart

    Sent on to my granddaughter, aged 8, as ‘children’ of any kind are of interest to her.
    N.B. To be ‘give up the ghost’ means to die. I assume the eagle just gave up the chase.
    Cheers,

    July 15, 2019 at 8:49 am

  6. Kathie Fiveash

    On the other hand, I recently watched a pair of bald eagles pluck one eider duckling after another out of their creche on the sea, ignoring the frantic mothers, taking each duckling back to thei huge nest, dropping it there for the almost fledged young eagles, and flying back out over the water for another morsel. The ducklings were less than a week old I think, and not yet good at diving, though some of them tried. They were so helpless and vulnerable.

    July 15, 2019 at 9:45 am

    • Alice

      It’s so hard to always think about the food chain & everything needs to eat.

      July 15, 2019 at 12:12 pm

  7. Bill On The Hill

    Lovely photograph Mary… You caught the ever so important red eye splendidly methinks!
    The fluorescent teal colored breast is clear to see as well.
    Very well done.
    To answer your question: BOTH
    Bill… :~)

    July 16, 2019 at 8:28 am

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