Loon and Penguins are Relatives

20 Million Years Old

Common Loons (Gavia immer) have been around for at least 20 million years. This makes them one of the oldest birds found in the northern hemisphere, but they didn’t start out here.

Loons originated in the Southern Hemisphere

A penguin is one of a loons closest relatives and they originated in the Southern Hemisphere like them.  As they evolved,  they moved north to fresh water habitats in the summer and ocean regions to winter. 

Loons are indicators of water quality.  They prefer crystal clear lakes and ponds with  an abundance of small fish.  They need clear waters because they use vision to locate their prey underwater.

Loons have to be in water to take flight and they need a long runway. The density of their bones makes them heavy and they need to run across the water wings flapping for a long period to take off.

Watch the video below to see them take off.


Lake coves are a loon’s preferred location to nest and rest because they provide cover from predators.

My parents purchased a little cottage on Lake Winnipesaukee when I was 6.  We spent every weekend there from ice out until Columbus Day and we lived there all summer.

The map below shows Buzzel Cove and the little red dot is about where our place was on Wyman Trail.  Buoy 14 was directly in front of our cottage and we looked up at Castle in the Clouds and Bald Peak Colony Club sat on the shore across from us.  

This is where my entire family feel in love with loons.

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Below you can see a few of the other one of a kind items that were inspired by my summers on the lake.

I discovered leather as a medium when I was a college student in 1977 and fell in love.  My summers starting in 1964,  were spent on Lake Winnipesaukee in NH, and that is where I first encountered loons.

Loons soon became the focal point of much of my work. The scenery around the lake was the inspiration for much of the scenery I carved on my products.                                                                      I set out to create functional, and durable leather products with original loon scenes and other wildlife so nature enthusiasts could enjoy the things they love year round.                                                                My hope is that my handmade leather goods will become lifelong treasures and forever keepsakes that will evoke memories of special places and animals so you can keep them close to your heart no matter where your travels take you.


Although Penguins are not seen in New Hampshire, they also became the subject of many of my pieces.  Many people love penguins and customers asked for them.

Below are just a few of the one of a kind leather products by Log Cabin Leather by Jan that feature penguins.

Other Blog Posts about Loons

Loon Identification
Differences Between Loons and Ducks