2021 Lake Vermilion Loon Count

Monday, July 12, 2021 was a beautiful day to count loons on Lake Vermilion. Sixty eight dedicated volunteers all began their search at 9:00 a.m. in their designated areas looking for loon pairs, chicks, and singles. With the lake level low, eagles and gulls above and muskies below, there was still hope for spotting a good number of our state bird. And we did! Both the West end (Cook) and East end (Tower) numbers were up from 2020. Total count was 241. This is up 40 from last year’s count of 201. The breakdown is as follows:

Pairs Chicks Singles Total
West 23 16 33 95
East 34 17 61 146
Total adults were up 40 and total chicks up 5 over last year.

At about the age of 3 weeks chicks turn chocolate brown and in a few more weeks they become adolescents and grey counter feathers emerge. When chicks are about two-thirds adult size they begin fishing for themselves. Chicks born early reach adult size before migrating south while those born later in July or even August have to grow up fast in order to begin migration before ice-up.

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