Bird of the Month- April is the Common Loon

This bird has an extraterrestrial-sounding call and extraordinary breeding plumage…when it’s up North on lakes in the summer time.  It’s also the state bird of Minnesota.  Their breeding calls are the iconic eerie sound you might hear on a scary movie based around a lake.

April’s bird of the month is the Common Loon (Gavia immer)!!!!

The Common Loon (32″ long; 36″ wing span; 13 oz) is a winter visitor to Bolsa Chica.  You will see this bird in a gray suit of feathers with white underparts.  Sometimes, a few will migrate late and show off their beautiful black and white breeding plumage in April, before flying up North to breed.  These birds are not well suited to land, so look for them in the bays of Bolsa Chica.  Oh, and they are not very vocal in the winter, so don’t expect to hear their haunting calls echoing over the water.  Expert and fast divers, they chase, catch, and swallow small fish all while underwater.  Interestingly, they need a long stretch of water, or runway, to flap their wings and run on the surface of the water to get enough lift to get airborne.  During the winter they become flightless for a few weeks as they molt all their wing feathers at once.  Common loons take up to 6 years before breeding.

To learn more about the Common Loon visit The Cornell Lab of Ornithology or Audubon Guide to North American Birds

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Learn more about the Migratory Bird Treaty Act: The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Explained

New to birding? Check out this beginner’s guide to birding!

Photo: Robin Hoyland

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