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The Call of the Loon
The call of the Common Loon brings to mind a summer visit to northern lakes with sunny blue skies. A "yodel" call is given by males on their breeding territories. The call of the Common Loon that we hear during winter is quite different from the breeding call in summer. Common Loons have another, more cheerful tremolo call, which they make while flying. You can learn more about the boreal forest, where many Common Loons breed, at BorealBirds.org.
The Call of the Loon
Written by Frances Wood
This is BirdNote!
[Common Loon “yodel” call]
Does this call of the Common Loon bring to mind a summer visit to northern lakes with sunny blue skies? If so, you’ve probably heard loons in Alaska, Canada, northern Minnesota, or New England. This “yodel” call is given by a male on its breeding territory.
[More Common Loon “yodel” calling]
The call of the Common Loon during winter is quite different from the summer breeding call. [Common Loon’s “wail” call] The prolonged, unmodulated, tone sounds somewhat like a wolf’s howl, doesn’t it! We identify this as the “wail” call, reflecting its mournful qualities. Both males and females give this call, for example, when they want to reestablish contact after becoming separated.
Common Loons have another, more cheerful “tremolo” call. This undulating tone, tagged the “laughing call,” is given while flying.
[Common Loon tremolo call]
When winter ends, Common Loons return to their breeding territories. Once back to those shining northern lakes, the males will again launch their yodel.
[More “yodel” call]
You can hear any episode of BirdNote again, no matter what the season, when you come to birdnote.org. All the bird sounds are provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
[Common Loon’s “wail” call]
Calls of the Common Loons provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Yodel call recorded by D.C. Evans, Wail and Tremolo calls recorded by S.R. Pantle.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org August 2016 Narrator: Michael Stein