About This Study

Scientists say Common Loons (Gavia immer) have been around for at least 20 million years, making them the oldest and most primitive living bird.

Since loons can hardly walk, they've spent most of that time in the water or in the air. Their feet are set way back on their bodies—perfect for paddling but wobbly for walking. Loons can't take flight without a long water runway so they're never found on small lakes or streams. They must run across the water beating their wings and paddling their feet to gain enough speed to fly. There are stories of loons landing on wet pavement which they've mistaken for deep water and then being unable to take off again!

What to Report

  • First Sightings: Use the Identification Guide to learn to identify loons by sound as well as sight.
  • Ice-Out: Report and track ice-out with this migration.


Common Loon Map: Breeding Range
Range Map

Report Your Loon Sightings

Please Report
your FIRST loon of spring!