Isle Royale Loons

Common loons have been listed as a threatened species in Michigan since 1987. Although some birds are located in northern portions of the Lower Peninsula and western Upper Peninsula, they are most common around Isle Royale.

Loons are a well-known symbol of the northern wilderness and are common in the bays of Lake Superior around the island. They are well known for their eerie wails and mating dance.

However, disturbances by humans have disrupted the breeding of this bird. Loons are quick to abandon their nest if disturbed by too many people nearby. The National Park Service encourages people to avoid traversing near loons during breeding season. In general, only one of of every four hatched loon makes it through the first six weeks. And informational pamphlets place around the island by the National Park Service suggests that the percentage is even worse for loons at Isle Royale National Park.

Common loons can travel at speeds up to 80 miles per hour in the air and dive to depths of around 200 feet. They also have webbed feet that make them extremely powerful swimmers. However, because of the location of their legs at the back of their bodies, they are unable to walk on land or fly from land.

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