If you come visit Riverside Resort, 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. While vacationing by the lake, make sure to keep your resort cabins windows open to better be able to listen to the loons. Many resorters 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 chicks. So, if you see loons, stay away. Don’t approach them.
3. Wail: long drawn out sound.
This call 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.
The Hoot is typically used for short range communication between members of a loon family (paired adults and their chicks). 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.
Enjoy your time at the lake!
Submitted by: Karen Senger, resort owner for 17 years
Edited by: Kathryn Rupnow, Riverside Resort