The Common Loon, an iconic symbol of the Canadian Wilderness, is easily seen in K-Country. Most every reasonably sized body of water has a pair of Loons on it, even ponds as small as Grotto Pond. Loons like big bodies of water, too, such as Spray Lake. They’re capable of diving as deep as 50 m, and can readily swim 100 m underwater looking for fish.
Generally, Loon pairs don’t like other Loon pairs around. Still, on a big lake like Lower Kananaskis Lake, there can be 3 or 4 pairs, each with a defined territory and specific section of shoreline that they consider theirs.
And Loons are almost always in pairs. They mate for life, and typically re-use the same nesting mounds on the same lake year after year. The pair do everything together, sharing nesting, feeding and raising the chicks. They almost always have 2 chicks. When very young, the chicks spend most of their time riding around on their parent’s backs. The chicks are flightless for over 2 months after hatching.
While they are fantastic swimmers, they are ungainly fliers. Loons spend very little time out of water, and can’t even take off to fly from land. The nests they use are just mounds of sticks right on the shoreline. This is another good reason to stay away from the shorelines of high alpine lakes.
The truly iconic thing about Loons is their haunting call. Interestingly, they will often vocalize to distract you. One will call while the other swims away with the chicks.
Meet more of the cool critters of K-Country here!