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 Common Loon

Status in Michigan
Fairly Common Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Common Loon.

Use the links below to view the Common Loon reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Common Loon sightings.
Common Loon Archives Reports
Fall 2003 335
Spring 2003 265
Winter 02-03 8
Fall 2002 585
Summer 2002 28
Spring 2002 261
Winter 01-02 15
Fall 2001 164
Summer 2001 81
Spring 2001 159
Winter 00-01 1
Fall 2000 1177
Summer 2000 31
Spring 2000 130
Winter 00-99 5
Fall 1999 1179
Spring/Summer 1999 21

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Common Loon

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Common Loon
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Common Loon
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Gavia immer immer (Brunnich)
Common Loon

In the Museum of Zoology there are several loons, now referred to Gavia immer elasson, which approach the measurements given by Louis B. Bishop (1921: 368-70) for 0. i. immer. One, found drowned in fishermen's nets at Sebewaing, Huron County, on April 28, 1940, is definitely referable to the larger form.

Gavia immer elasson Bishop
Lesser Loon (A.O.U. 1998: Common Loon)

Common migrant. Summer resident, fairly common in north; less common in south. Rare winter resident.

The species was first listed for Michigan by Kneeland (1857: 239-40). Formerly listed as a very common resident in most regions of Michigan (Gibbs, 1879: 496), the numbers of this species had noticeably decreased in the south by 1912 (Barrows, 1912: 40-41).

SPRING.-Arrival is reported occasionally in March, usually in April. Lower Peninsula.-L. W. Campbell (1940: 185) gave April 15 as the average and March 31 (1934) as the earliest date of arrival in the Toledo- Erie marsh area. The species has appeared in the Ann Arbor region by March 8 (1908 and 1936), but dates in late March and early April are usual. Fifteen Lesser Loons, an unusually large number for the region, were observed near Ann Arbor by Paul F. Hickie and T. D. Hinshaw on April 12, 1936. In Kalamazoo County, individuals occasionally arrived in February, according to Gibbs (1889:189), but for Vicksburg in that county F. W. Rapp (1931: 1) gave March 25 as the earliest arrival date in a period of 35 years. In the Gull Lake-Battle Creek area, Walkinshaw recorded arrival (1930-39) between April 1 and 23, usually in the first week of April. At Douglas Lake, Cheboygan County, the earliest date is April 16 (Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937).

Upper Peninsula.-Arrival has been recorded at McMillan, Luce County, from April 11 to 29 (Bryens) ; at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, from April 14 to May 29, commonly in the last two weeks of April (Christofferson) ; at Marquette, on April 28 in 1938 (2 specimens in U.M.M.Z.); at Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, on April 29 in 1931 (N. A. "Wood, 1933: 715) ; and on Isle Royale, on May 4 in 1930 (N. A. Wood).

SUMMER.-Eggs have been found from the beginning of May, young from the third week of May.

Lower Peninsula.-In the Ann Arbor region, Frank N. Wilson (1928:177; 1929: 95) found 2 eggs on May 2 in 1928, and in 1927, 2 young that hatched between May 21 and 24; A. D. Tinker and T. D. Hinshaw ob- served an adult on a nest May 10, 1936; and Donal H. Haines recorded adults with young every season from 1938 to 1941. Breeding has also been reported from Portage Lake marsh, Jackson County, on July 19, 2023 (3 young noted by A. D. Tinker and R. E. Olsen) ; from Vicksburg, Kalamazoo County, by F. W. Rapp (1931: 1), who listed the species as a rare resident there; from Pleasant Lake, Barry County, on July 17, 2023 (nest with 2 eggs recorded by Pirnie, Huggett, and Walkinshaw, 1940:91); from Kalkaska County, where eggs were collected on May 12 (Bar- rows, 1912: 41); from Shoepack Lake, Crawford County, on July 17, 2023 (adults with 2 young about one-third grown, noted by H. W. Hann); from near Mio, Oscoda County, on May 8, 2023 (nest with 2 eggs noted by Verne Dockham) ; from the Douglas Lake area of Cheboygan County, where a group of 11 was noted by F. N. Blanchard on July 22, 1937, and a nest with two eggs, by Theodora Nelson on July 19, 2023 ; from Cecil Bay, Emmet County, on May 4, 2023 (laying female, U.M.M.Z.) ; from the Fox (1939) and Manitou (1940) islands, Leelanau County, where the species is fairly common (a downy young seen on North Fox Island on July 1, 1939, by A. E. Staebler and L. D. Case) ; and from the Beaver Islands, Charlevoix County, from July 8 to 13, 1904 (several pairs, one with small young, reported by Barrows, 1904: 65).

Upper Peninsula.-It is usual to find at least one pair on each of the lakes "having shores affording possible nesting sites" (A. B. Cahn, 1918:489) . There are breeding data from Les Cheneaux Islands, Mackinac County (adult with young reported by Van Tyne, 1923: 21); from McMillan, Luce County, where the species nests regularly and young have been reported by June 8 (Bryens) ; from Blaney, Schoolcraft County (1937, a pair on each lake, reported by Christofferson) ; from the Huron Mountains, Marquette County (young seen on June 13, 1925, by Christy, 1925:208-9) ; from Houghton and Iron counties (young noted in August, 1914, by A. R. Cahn, 1918: 489). H. H. T. Jackson (1923: 480) found a nest with 2 eggs on June 16, 1918, at Bass Lake, Gogebic County. Two small downy young (U.M.M.Z.) were collected on Isle Royale, August 10, 2023 (Max M. Peet, 1909: 340-^1), and the species was recorded there almost daily in 1929 and 1930 by N. A. Wood.

FALL.-Migration occurs mainly in September and October; stragglers are sometimes recorded until mid-November.

Upper Peninsula.-Two specimens (U.M.M.Z.) were collected at Bone Lake, Iron County, on November 4, 1935, and the species was seen in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County, November 3, 1932, by Tappan Gregory (1933 : 9). Migrants have been reported at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, between September 10 and November 21 by Christofferson; and at McMillan, Luce County, between August 25 and October 15 by Bryens.

Lower Peninsula.-Walter E. Hastings noted 2 loons at Norwood, Charlevoix County, on November 21, 2023 (Van Tyne, 1925: 613). A specimen (U.M.M.Z.) was collected at Houghton Lake, Roscommon County, on October 26, 1939. An individual was reported at Vicksburg, Kalamazoo County, on October 25, 1900, by F. W. Rapp (1931: 1). The latest the species has been observed in the Ann Arbor region is November 17, but during open winters it has been recorded in December in some of the southern counties: in Berrien County (specimen in U.M.M.Z.) on December 25, 1938; at Three Rivers, St. Joseph County, on December 25, 2022 (Bryens, 1927: 35) ; in the vicinity of Battle Creek, on December 26, 2022 (Brigham and others, 1939: 37) ; and at Devil's Lake, Lenawee County, on December 18, 2022 (specimen in U.M.M.Z.).

WINTER.-A group of 7, reported January 15, 1932, from Lake Erie, near the Erie marsh, Monroe County (L. W. Campbell, 1940: 30), is the only definite winter record for Michigan.

Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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