Common Loons

In the early morning and late evening hours on Lake Greenwood, you can hear the distant eerie calls of the Loons echoing over the quiet waters.


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Common Loons


Have you ever heard them?

Common Loons have four distinct calls to identify.


The tremelo call, also known as the “crazy laugh”, used to signal alarm.


The wail call, also known as the “wolf’s howl”, used during social interactions between loons, to locate a mate during the night, and in answering other loon tremolos.


The Yodel call is given only by the male to defend his territory.


The Hoot call is a one-note call used by family members to locate each other and check on their well-being.

(All Loon audios courtesy “The Loon Preservation Committee” at


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Common Loons at sunset


Distinguishing their calls gives insight on what they’re doing….

and us knowing it’s not some wild animal somewhere nearby on land.Β  πŸ˜‰


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Common Loons swimming off into the sunset



48 thoughts on “Common Loons

  1. The call of the Loons is a favorite of mine. I miss hearing them and played these great recordings over and over!
    Wonderful photos and presentation Donna, happy holidays to you and your family!

  2. I love loons and had a wonderful time seeing and hearing them this past summer in northern WI. Thanks for sharing the sound snippets.

    • Thank you, Reed! Once you know what you’re hearing, it’s quite lovely. But if you don’t know what they sound like; and it is after dark, you might start wondering what is lurking out there, watching you. πŸ˜‰

  3. Thanks for the great photos and the super sounds.
    I am on the far side of the earth from these birds but have always had a warm feeling for them after reading Walden Pond and Thoreau’s description

  4. Marvelous! That was so helpful. I have such a hard time recognizing and sorting out specific bird calls. (and E is slightly losing his hearing.) 😦

    • Thank you Gunta! I’m still learning different birds’ calls too. Years ago when I first heard a loon ‘wailing’ , I thought, what the heck is that animal…..and where is it around me, lol. πŸ˜‰

    • Thank you, Belinda! Since they breed all over Canada, I’m feeling this coming breeding season will be your time! πŸ™‚ To me, they are very hard to spot since they’re always off on the open waters, very timid, I’ve only a couple times been real close to any. I usually need to hear them to even know they’re out there to look for. πŸ˜‰

  5. Theirs must be one of the most awe-inspiring vocalizations, Donna. My husband and I will never forget hearing a loon serenade us through the night in an Alaska lake, where we were sleeping in a tent. It was magical.

  6. Pingback: Common Loons β€” Photos by Donna – Best of the Midwest – Hiking, nature and photography

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