Montana Public Radio

common loons

'Field Notes': Meeting A Montana Loon In Mexico

Jan 26, 2020
U.S.F.W.S. (P.D.)

Each week, the haunting wail of the common loon opens the Field Notes program. The loon’s cry always brings to my mind clear mountain lakes rimmed by lush coniferous forests, a handsome pair of birds in their formal black and white courting plumage calling across the quiet water.

Loon Calls: From Inquisitive To Bone-Chilling

Jul 29, 2019
When a boat steers too close to a nest, the owner loon will snap its bill open and closed, transforming air into wavy notes that writer John McPhee described: “If he were human, it would be the laugh of the deeply insane.”
(PD)

Loon calls flow through our veins, seep into our bones and sinew. For a moment, we become the wild flute music that curls into every recess of the lake. The echo pulses within us long after the stillness returns.

Loons call in four ways, each carrying a meaning that, at some level, humans have come to understand.

Citizen scientists watch for migrating raptors at Swiftcurrent Pass.
Jami Belt / National Park Service


Glacier National Park is looking for people to help study and monitor plant and animal species throughout the park.

To Catch a Loon

Feb 12, 2016
Common loon.
Cephas (CC-BY-SA-3)

What do scientists do when they're racing to understand what's happening to one of the smallest and most isolated common loon populations in North America? Whatever it takes. Get ready because this story might change the way you think about birders forever.

John Picken

"Montana's Common Loons," by Ben Turnock, read by Caroline Kurtz.