Loons in Central Ohio

I feel that I need to start off by saying that the Common Loon totally fascinates and captures my imagination. If you’ve ever had the privilege of being in the north woods in the spring and early summer you’ll understand why. There’s no question that Loons are visually stunning and their behavior is fascinating, but during mating season it’s the calls they make at night that set them apart from every other bird. Laying quietly in your sleeping bag and listening will take you to a wild, primal, and magical place that few sounds, with the exception of the call of the Wolf, can duplicate.

So it’s with great anticipation every spring that I look for them to pass through Columbus on their way north to breeding grounds on secluded lakes in Michigan and Ontario. During nesting Loon’s do not tolerate human activity very well, especially lakes with a lot of motorboat traffic. The main reason for this is that, while they are very well adapted to life in the water, they cannot walk on land. Because of this their nests must be located at the waters edge making the them vulnerable to boat wakes.

Loon’s eat fish, and the bodies of water in central Ohio provide a place to rest and contain an ample source of food that Loons need to fuel their journey north. With one of the highest wing loadings of any bird they also have one of the highest sustained flying speeds. This coupled with the fact that they can only take of from water presents some interesting challenges. So wherever they land they must have enough room to take off and it seems to take forever for them to do so as they run along the surface flapping their wings slowly gaining flight speed.

But it all works together and it all interconnected. Just as the quiet secluded northern lakes are critical in that they provide suitable food and nesting habitat, so to are the lakes and abandoned quarries of central Ohio. Without these key stops their journey wouldn’t be possible. There would be no Loons.

So below are a few pictures celebrating the yearly passage of Loons through central Ohio.

click on the image for a better view

Antrim Lake:


IMG_4991use (2)

Mature Common Loon, Antrim Lake


IMG_5007 (2)

Sneaking along, Antrim Lake



Diving, Antrim Lake

Watermark Quarries:

IMG_5013 (2)

Common Loon, Watermark

IMG_5014 (2)

Fish sighted!

IMG_5017 (2)

Looking for a fish, Watermark

IMG_5016 (2)

Loon, Watermark

IMG_5036 (2)

Immature Loon, Watermark

IMG_5032 (2)

Immature Loon, Watermark

Finally, a few other bird seen in central Ohio in recent days while out looking for Loons:

IMG_0095 (2) crop

Red-breasted Merganser, Scioto River

IMG_5042 (2)

Redhead Duck, Watermark


Horned Grebes, Watermark


Thanks for stopping by.


9 Comments on “Loons in Central Ohio

  1. Great shots of the loons! They’re tough to photograph for me, they stay underwater forever it seems, and only take a breath or two when they do surface.

  2. Great photos of loons almost in my backyard and much good information. Would it be rude to say it takes one to know one?

  3. In Aberdeen in north east Scotland, young men and women are known as loons and quines but the men generally don’t look as handsome as your loons.

  4. I was lucky to have a pair come up next to my Kayak up in Maine on the Sebago lake a couple of years ago. But I was happy to see a pair in South Viena Ohio just last week! Very special for me since I am from Maine. There was also a beautiful heron.

    • In the summer we make trips to northern Michigan and Ontario and always enjoy seeing and hearing the Loons. In my humble opinion, lying in your tent at night listening to their call is one of life’s supreme experiences.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: