I’ve spent the last few days watching life along the lakeshore in Alexandria, Minnesota. If you sit quietly on the end of the dock, a procession of life wanders by: white pelicans, cormorants, bald eagles, loons, various ducks, etc. But one sighting was a bit unusual.
A solitary Common Loon frequents this particular bay of Lake Le Homme Dieu and regularly serenades with his ethereal, plaintive calls morning and evening. He/she floated by preening and stretching on this early morning.
Next, a family of newly hatched Wood Ducklings floated by.
Suddenly, mother duck flew a short distance toward the shore, but then flew back directly at the loon, veering off right before hitting it. I was watching her, so I didn’t see what the loom was doing. The ducklings scattered to the shore like bullets.
But, the loon suddenly started thrashing and flapping in the water like it had caught something.
I wondered if it had caught one of the ducklings, so I googled “do loons eat baby ducks”. Guess what, they do, and there are several reports of this behavior, the most interesting of which was a loon acting like an alligator swimming low in the water and attacking from below. Click here to read about “loon alligators”. Apparently, loons will attack adult ducks and even Canada Geese, and regularly use underwater stealth in their attack.
And I thought they ate fish. Not such a nice state bird afterall.