Long ago, I had a job working in Algonquin Park. Every night we had a ritual in camp, we'd start a fire and relax while the sun went down, sitting lakeside, everything became peaceful and calm. Amazing moments. Anyone who has enjoyed the Canadian outdoors has heard the call of loons, in fact it's those type of experiences that draw.
Anyways, needless to say I was pretty shocked to read today, that those beautiful loons, with their haunting calls, so serene and poignant, are actually engaged in staggering acts of violence. Not exactly the visual I prefer, the loon call denoting a potential fight to the death, with the goal to pierce the heart of the opponent:
Loons, those serene emblems of peaceful wilderness lakes, are emerging in modern research as bloodthirsty attackers that drive out or kill their neighbours and take over the rivals' families.
And that lovely, haunting call? It's often a prelude to a fight. Sometimes a fight to the death, if one loon can dive under its rival and stab that sharp beak up into its heart....
The two birds beat each other with powerful wings and try to drown each other, but one bird inevitably gives up before either is killed.
Males, though, fight to the death in about 30 per cent of cases, in a savage fight that can last all day. For unknown reasons, he says, it's always the resident bird that is killed in these cases.
If the attacking male or female wins, it moves in to stay and takes over the mate of the defeated rival.
Basically, that beautiful loon call that denotes a perfect evening, or morning, is the prelude to attempted murder. In other words, the call of the loon, is the equivalent of hearing gunshots, something very bad is happening.
The outdoors will never be the same :)