These two chicks were born on Belly Button Island, in the north section of Long Lake, on Father’s Day, June 16th. We spotted them riding on a parent’s back on their birthday, but weren’t sure if we were seeing one or two chicks. One week later, as one chick paddled behind a parent and one rode, we knew it was twins.
The chicks grew quickly.
By September, the chicks are adolescents. They often hang out together without either parent. They are very efficient divers, though they don’t seem to stay underwater as long as the adults do. When a parent is around, they still head over hoping to get a snack, but the parents don’t seem to oblige them anymore. The young loon’s plumage is still immature, but size-wise they are only a tad smaller than the adults.
Like the parents, the young loons will approach a quiet boat. Sometimes they even seem to be drawn to our kayaks. Even this fisherman, on a recent chilly and foggy morning, didn’t frighten off the adolescent.
The parents will be leaving this month and will winter in warmer places down South. The twins will be left behind for another 4-6 weeks. They will stay on Long Lake late enough that we’ll start to worry if they know what they are supposed to do. For now, they need to get stronger, bulk up a bit for the flight south and, oh yes, practice their take-offs and landings.
The adults are grooming their flight feathers. Well, either that or practicing their yoga poses.