Minnesota has the highest loon population outside of Alaska with approximately 12,000 birds.
Loons are one of the most vocal of all water birds. They can be heard during the day, but they’re mostly known for their haunting calls at night. One of the most common questions that I get when guiding is “what are the calls and what do they mean”? People love hearing the four distinct calls.
Loons are like torpedoes in the water—diving over 200 feet for fish. They can stay underwater for up to five minutes, and their red eyes help them see under water.
Yes. Because loons’ bodies are heavy compared to their wing size, it can take them up to 600 feet to take off from a lake. Loons are fast once in the air, too. They can fly over 70 mph.
Loons only go on land to mate and incubate eggs. Loons’ legs are set far back on their bodies making them excellent swimmers but awkward on land.
Adult loons are the first to migrate to their winter home on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts while juvenile loons follow about a month later.
You can see loons on about any lake in the Brainerd Lakes Area! With our abundant clean, deep lakes, it’s common to see or at least hear loons during the summer in the area. Please remember to be respectful and share the water with loons. Having loons on our lakes is a good indicator of the area’s overall aquatic health.
The National Loon Center Foundation was established in 2017 with a mission to restore and protect loon habitats, enhance environmental recreation, and construct a research and education center for migratory wildlife. The foundation and its partners are working to establish a National Loon Center in Crosslake, Minnesota with a target opening in 2022.