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      A flock of loons?     
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tumblehome
distinguished member(1956)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/15/2020 07:27AM  
I took a day trip to Snowbank last weekend and saw a flock of loons. I have never observed this in the BWCA nor was I aware that loons do this. I have seen groups of loons on Lake Superior in the spring as they wait for inland lakes to open up.

On Snowbank, there were nine loons swimming and diving together. I observed them move around the lake slowly as they fed. Sometimes all nine were bobbing in the water and other times eight of the nine were under. Can someone explain this to me and have others seen this?

Also, I did see a few pairs with their babies not with this particular group, which is the most beautiful sight to see.

Tom
 
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Jackfish
Moderator
 
07/15/2020 08:03AM  
When the kids were younger, we would vacation every summer at a resort on a small northern Wisconsin lake. One night, there were seven loons swimming on this small lake. We carefully took the boat out and got a pretty darn good photo of them all together. Groups (flocks?) of loons like that have to be pretty rare.
 
Mlohned
member (11)member
 
07/15/2020 08:55AM  
Out of curiosity, Google says "A group of loons has many collective nouns, including an "asylum", "cry", "loomery", "raft", and "water dance" of loons."

I love looking up the names of groups of animals. They're usually pretty funny (flamboyance of flamingos/clutter of cats/unkindness of ravens)
 
sedges
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07/15/2020 09:07AM  

Just an opinion, I am not loon specialist. I had six loons hanging out near my camp on Long Island Lake in 2018. I watched them for two days. They moved around together and were always in pairs. My thinking was that they are last year's brood. They would be about 13 months old and not breeding yet, but starting to pair up. Equivalent to teenagers!
 
Savage Voyageur
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07/15/2020 09:14AM  
I’ve only seen this happen one time. They were all bunched up ready for the migration south. There were about 40 of them. Really cool to hear that many calling.
 
07/15/2020 09:38AM  
I've seen groups of loons several times on different lakes and during different months. The groups ranged in number from 6 to 15 to more than 50.
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(1956)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/15/2020 09:55AM  
Mlohned: "Out of curiosity, Google says "A group of loons has many collective nouns, including an "asylum", "cry", "loomery", "raft", and "water dance" of loons." "
Hmmm. I didn't know what to call them so I said 'flock'. I think I like a 'cry' or 'raft'.

It sounds like it is not as rare as I had thought. I have a thousand days in the wilderness over the years and never saw this.

Tom

 
HangLoose
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07/15/2020 10:35AM  
I've seen large groups of loons together in the Fall when they are starting their migration. I theorize that my cabin lake near Alexandria Minnesota is a rendezvous lake for loons migrating south from places further up North in the Fall. I've seen upwards of 40 loons together in September or October. By that time they have lost their summer plumage and have a more drab appearance. I can't say that I've ever seen more than 4 loons together in mid summer.
 
THEGrandRapids
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07/15/2020 10:50AM  
Again, grouping for fall migration, we counted 72 loons together on a lake near Grand Rapids. One would dive, then 5 would dive, then a dozen would dive, and eventually they would all go under. I can't imagine the minnow drive they were doing! The loon flute pamphlet said loons can dive to 100 feet to chase minnows- I'm skeptical but believe it. The 72 loons were over the deepest part of the lake (about 120') not that they were going that deep.
 
fishonfishoff
distinguished member(641)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/15/2020 11:12AM  
Mlohned: "Out of curiosity, Google says "A group of loons has many collective nouns, including an "asylum", "cry", "loomery", "raft", and "water dance" of loons."

I love looking up the names of groups of animals. They're usually pretty funny (flamboyance of flamingos/clutter of cats/unkindness of ravens) "

In my part of Ohio, loon sightings are rare. We had a discussion on a BWCA trip on what a young loon is called. The answer we came up with, even though we knew it was wrong was "LOONLING!" Yes, much alcohol helped us come up with this answer!

FOFO
 
missmolly
distinguished member(7210)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/15/2020 11:37AM  
I see an asylum of loons each year at our family reunions.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
07/15/2020 11:56AM  
missmolly: "I see an asylum of loons each year at our family reunions. "
(Insert rim shot above.) LOL
 
07/15/2020 12:07PM  
As it gets close to dark I've noticed more than once multiple loons calling out from all corners of a lake, like an evening roll call. Sounds like you witnessed a block party of sorts.



 
Porkeater
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07/15/2020 01:13PM  
Weren't they an 80's new wave band?
 
07/15/2020 03:19PM  
Porkeater: "Weren't they an 80's new wave band?"
Loon asylum. Soul asylum. Pretty much the same thing.
 
07/15/2020 03:22PM  
I saw a very large group of loons on Basswood once. Not sure how many but it was a large enough group that we just sat there and floated with them because we hadn't seen it before. Might have been a July trip, but not totally sure.
 
bentshaft
distinguished member (149)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/15/2020 05:58PM  
Had a large group(20or so) one morning in July on Ashigan Lake. Definitely a party as they were all very vocal! Cool experience
 
07/15/2020 06:00PM  
Porkeater: "Weren't they an 80's new wave band?"
By the way, the drummer for Soul Asylum use to live across the alley and up a house or to from me. When their house went on the market me and my GF went over to have a look as we were in the market at the time. It was cool to go to an open house with gold records on the wall. I was told they had purchased a resort somewhere in northern MN. I hope that is true, and they did well there.
 
Duff
senior member (94)senior membersenior member
 
07/15/2020 06:47PM  
Looks like I hang around THEGRandRapids neighborhood in September. Counted over 90 one fall. No doubt an annual staging area. 40-75 is the norm when we are there. And let's be honest, it's tough getting an accurate count when a group that large is on the feed. Lastly............quiet, like you would think there is only a pair on the lake from the number of calls heard.

 
HowardSprague
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07/15/2020 10:41PM  
Jaywalker: "Porkeater: "Weren't they an 80's new wave band?"
By the way, the drummer for Soul Asylum use to live across the alley and up a house or to from me. When their house went on the market me and my GF went over to have a look as we were in the market at the time. It was cool to go to an open house with gold records on the wall. I was told they had purchased a resort somewhere in northern MN. I hope that is true, and they did well there. "


I believe the resort was on Mitchell Lake, and they sold maybe a few years later.

As for loons, i once saw a group of about fifty in a bay on Snowbank. Think it was later August.
 
07/16/2020 06:24AM  
In Sept. 2011 I took video of 12 loons feeding together on Burt Lake. There also were a few gulls dive bombing the water above them. At times they all would be underwater. I imaging them coordinating and corralling the baitfish in a big pod where there would be a feeding frenzy. It was an amazing thing to observe from a canoe not far away.

 
07/17/2020 09:47AM  
Love this thread. And on a side note to the "flock", my favorite is a "murder of crows".

 
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