A pair of Common Loons flew over Lake of the Isles a few days ago, and an observer wrote to ask what they were doing in the city in July. Well, loons do nest in this part of the state. Most are found on waters to the north, but not all. So, these could have been nesters. Or, they could have been unsuccessful nesters, free to roam since loons only nest once a year. If their nest is destroyed or the young loons lost, the adults will not renest. Or, they could have been sexually immature birds. Loons take at least four years to reach breeding age, sometimes as long as seven years. They, too, are free to roam. Seeing them here now is unexpected, and probably more special for that reason. We’ll see many loons on local lakes in the fall as they begin staging for migration. Some lakes to the north will hold hundreds. Late each fall Mille Lacs Lake is one of those.  The loon below is in winter plumage.

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Photo: Ducks in a row

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Beautiful book on raptors