Migratory Birds of the Great Lakes University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
 about habitat birds + science 20 birds
aerialist raptors
copyright UW Sea Grant, writer: L. Wiland, design: T. Yao contact us credits

Common Loon Water Connection, page 2

• Most birds have light, hollow bones, but a loon’s bones are heavy and solid—designed more for diving underwater than flying through the air. In fact, loons have been caught in nets as far as 200 feet below the water surface, and can stay underwater for many minutes. Due to their heavy bodies, however, loons are unable to fly directly from land. Instead, they flap their wings and run along the surface of the water, usually for up to a quarter-mile, until they gain enough speed to get airborne.

• Loons have air sacs inside their bodies which they can fill in order to achieve better flotation. On the other hand, when loons want to dive or ride lower on the water, they can reduce their buoyancy by expelling most of the air from these sacs.     next page >>

ML Reeb writer: Laurence Wiland design: T. Yao