The sound of the distinct tremolo call and wailing hooo-lii of the Common Loon (Gavia immer) rewards the early Adirondack riser. This large bird weighing an average of 8 to 9 pounds with a black head, thick black bill, white breast, checkered black and white back and signature red eyes is among the oldest birds existing today with a genetic lineage dating back for more than 50 million years.
This species, like many species in and out of the Park, have been affected by human activities such as acid rain, shoreline development and fishing with toxic lead sinkers which have reduced loon populations.
Currently, the Common Loon is listed as Endangered in Vermont, Threatened in New Hampshire and Michigan and a Species of Concern in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
The reduction of emissions through the Clean Water Act, Annual Adirondack Loon Census through the Wildlife Conservation Society and community bird-watchers have aided in documenting any changes occurring to loon habitat use and population trends.
The idea of not hearing the familiar sound, of a Common Loon, each and every morning would be a sound I would miss the most. I often associate several species when I think of the Adirondacks. One of them is most certainly the Common Loon and I hope that through all of our watchful eyes that this species and many others commonly seen in our backyards are never taken for granted and always enjoyed.