Sunday, January 31, 2010

Loon with a Snack

While at Blackie Spit today, conducting my Survey Area Count, this Common Loon caught my eye. He was struggling with something...

I soon discovered it was a crab...

He dropped it several times...but managed to dive and grip it again, in his bill...

He made short work of that crab, eating the entire thing...whole! Notice the lump in his throat?

Amazing to watch...


  1. I have seen this:

    Loons in Winter

    The loons break water rising from their dives like bubbles,
    bursting out of the ocean with a great flapping of wings
    and stretching of necks as though at the absolute end of their breath…
    and yet, a moment later they are floating, necks arched low,
    eyes below water, hunting, for what seems like forever.

    Suddenly their heads come back like a hammer
    and they dive,
    driving through the water,
    to come up with a crab caught crosswise in the bill.
    They toss their heads and turn,
    clicking bills like chopsticks
    making a black and white sinuous slide
    of the neck to swallow,
    gulping the crab down,
    legs dangling out the sides like noodles.

    On a calm day they sit offshore and look at me,
    head on, eye to eye, bobbing in the swell,
    (or maybe it is the sky’s reflection in the lens of the scope they see…)
    whatever, we are tethered together by our mutual regard,
    separated by 50 yards of icy water and
    the necessities of our separate species,
    but kin in our curiosity.

    Of course, I am the one who goes to the Loons,
    not they to me.
    I brave the frozen beach, the bitter wind,
    numb fingers, icy toes, brittle cheeks and
    the ice that forms like frozen drool in my beard
    just to be there, to see and be seen.

    I must be quite a spectacle.

    Oh well, we always knew loons, in their own element, have more sense
    than birders.

  2. OH Love this! yummm
    And Steve..Lovely Poem!

  3. Aww, what a lovely poem! Thank you so much for posting that, Steve!