Loons are a very iconic Canadian bird. They are common all throughout North America and also parts of Europe. Any cottage resident will describe the haunting cry of the loon as a memorable part of summer experience. A shrill and lonely call that echoes along the shores, the cry of the loon stirs emotion in all who hear it. The loon is also capable of a rapidly oscillating call that sounds like a lunatic laughing. Both calls seem to be used to communicate with other loons and their voices carry for miles.
This young loon had been wandering along on its own on an isolated Canadian lake for at least two days. Recognizable as a juvenile due to its brown plumage, the baby seemed to be confused and upset as it drifted through the bays around an island, obviously looking for its mother. Cottagers watched and listened as the loon let out an occasional distressful cry. It was beginning to look like the mother had fallen prey to an animal or had possibly left the lake, leaving the young bird on his own. But early one morning, the baby let out a long and mournful call that was answered by a distant call from farther up the lake. The baby responded immediately, swimming around the island and letting out more cries. The calls from the other side of the island became louder as the mother made her way to her baby. The two met on the water and swam around each other for a few moments in greeting. It was a joyful sight to watch as the two were reunited.
The mother and baby began dipping their heads in the water, appearing to look for fish beneath them. They then swam south together.
Loons are capable of flight, but their heavy bodies and rearward positioned legs make takeoff difficult. They must run along the surface and flap their wings hard to get enough lift. The loon is not capable of taking off from solid ground due to the fact that its feet cannot properly support its body well. The balance of weight makes it very awkward for them to walk and nearly impossible for them to run. Their wings are small in comparison with their larger bodies. This is why loons prefer to swim, even for long distances, rather than fly.
Listening to an orphaned animal crying for its mother is a very distressing experience, but watching them find each other warms the heart.