Eagles and Loons

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Over the last few years as eagles have become common on the lakes and ponds I frequent I have learned that the loons all call when an eagle is in the air. I assumed that this was some ancient fear of predators from the air but I had never seen any sign that eagles cared even a little that loons where around. Loons being excellent divers could easily get away from an eagle so beyond being a threat to loon chicks I did not think that eagles posed any threat at all.

Tuesday afternoon I was on Seven Tree Pond and out of the corner of my eye I caught a very large splash. Something of the size that a seal might make on the salt water. Here I was miles from the nearest seal but still there was this great big splash. I looked carefully and saw nothing for a minute or two but eventually a loon surfaced. As I watched the loon dove again with another big splash. I assumed that it was bathing or goofing around but it surfaced and dove again very quickly. By this time I was paying very close attention.

As I watched a young eagle was hovering over the spot where the loon dove. I would guess that the eagle could clearly see the loon from his vantage point above and was simply witting for it to come up for air. After two or three more big splashes the eagle gave up the hunt and flew to a perch in a nearby tree. The loon came back up and resumed swimming as if nothing had happened.

So I assume that in fact eagles might take the occasional adult loon or at the least attempt to. I learn something every day! All I need to do is keep my eyes open.

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