Nesting Common Loons, Nova Scotia 2000

A pair of these birds nested quite close to a major highway on Nova Scotia's south shore. I kept a close watch on them as the eggs were incubated, observing as the male and female traded places on the nest, sharing the incubation duties. These birds are built for the water. They are impossibly ungainly on land and only clumsily manage to get on and off the nest, which must always be built at the water's edge. In fact loons cannot successfully take flight from land at all. Their legs, being designed more for propelling them through the water than walking on land,  are placed too far to the rear of their bodies and their breasts actually scrape the ground when they are on land. They must take flight from water!


The nest contained two eggs, as is usual and both hatched successfully. While I was never close enough to the young birds to photograph them, I did observe them through binoculars. I witnessed the sight of the parent birds feeding them fish and the delightful spectacle of them riding on the parents' backs. They did that often.


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