Sunday, May 26, 2013

Not so Common

Most everyone knows that I have a passion for sea turtles, but the sea and shorebirds of the island fascinate me, too.  Unfortunately it is difficult for me to identify many of them due to changes in their plumage.  One of the biggest differences occurs in the breeding season.  I was shocked to learn the bird (breeding) above is the same brown and gray bird (non-breeding) I frequently see resting on the beach in times of rough surf.  Their wail is a hauntingly beautiful sound in pre-dawn hours.  I hope you click on the highlighted link to hear several of their calls, if you have never heard them.

I have received several calls through the years about seriously injured birds "flopping around" on the shore with what must be a "broken leg" and nearly every time it has been a Common Loon which is resting.  While loons are incredible swimmers and divers, they have a difficult time getting around on land because their legs are set so far back on their body.  In fact, I made a brief video of one returning to the water so you could see how awkward they are on the beach.  Remember, the photo above is of a Common Loon in May, during the beautiful plumage of breeding season, and the video below was taken in August when the loons were past breeding season:

I would call these special birds "common" at all.

1 comment:

BaysideLife said...

I love loons and I agree, they are not at all common. There is a pair somewhere nearby on the bay. I hear their amazingly soulful call often, but I've yet to see them.