Loon Babies the First Three Weeks
Loon babies hatch from eggs that are olive-brown to olive-green in color. They have scattered black or brown blotches and spots.
Loon usually lay 2 eggs most of the time. Occasionally they only lay one.
The Life of a Loon Baby Begins
Watch the video below to observe a loon baby as life begins.
As you can see from the video above, Loon babies are covered in dark downy feathers when they are born. They have a white belly. Unlike most birds, baby loons leave the nest within 24 hours of hatching. They can swim, but usually spend a lot time riding on their parents back during their first few weeks. Riding on their parents helps to regulate their body temperature and also protects them from underwater predators such as turtles.
Unlike adult loons, loon chicks are able to walk upright on land. This changes as they get older. Check out other blog articles later this month to learn more about how the chicks change as they develop.
Loon Babies As They Grow
At first, Loon babies are entirely dependent on their parents for food. One parent will usually catch food and feed the chicks while the other stays on the water’s surface with the chicks. For the first eight weeks they rely on their parents for food.
A baby loon’s legs, feet, and head begin to grow after one week. They can now regulate their body temperatures themselves, and may spend more time in the water, although they will still ride on their parent’s backs at times. In shallow water, they are able to swim to the bottom and will often search around objects and chase fish.
At two weeks old they begin to molt to a lighter brown downy plumage. Although erratic, they can now swim underwater for lengths up to 50 feet. It is common for both parents to leave the surface now while hunting and feeding the chicks.
At three weeks of age, a loon’s body begins to elongate and their bills begin to lengthen as well. On their white underparts , juvenile feathers begin to grow now. They begin to take on the characteristic shape of adult loons and they loose their ability to walk upright on land.
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In 1977, when I was a college student I discovered leather as a medium and fell in love. My summers were spent on Lake Winnipesaukee, here in NH, and that is where I first encountered loons and fell in love.
Loons soon became the focal point of much of my work. I set out to create functional, and durable leather products with original loon scenes so Loon enthusiasts could enjoy them year round. My hope is that my handmade leather goods will become lifelong treasures and forever keepsakes.