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How a Diving Loon Captured My Heart

By Brian M. Collins
Published: December 16, 2011
Photo by Brian M. Collins

I have been watching loons dive and resurface since my toddler years. But the first time I ever watched a loon swimming about underwater, the result of a good vantage from a canoe in crystal-clear water, I was bowled over by its agility. It didn’t just swim deeper.  It did graceful rolls and strolled around under the surface, flashing from black to white as it turned.

The loon, curious about my canoe, swam past with its white belly up, and it seemed to survey the length of the canoe with each pass. Surfacing just a few feet away, water droplets beaded on its neck and head, the loon suddenly looked very large to me, and what had been black was now iridescent in green and purple hues.

Floating in the same space, we exchanged glances. The loon arched its neck and plunged beneath the surface again, this time making a graceful and deliberate line into the deep. It was that loon that captured my permanent affection, and it was that moment that transformed me forever into a steward of loons and wild waters.

To love something is to care for it. To care for it is to hand this same opportunity for wondrous transformation on to our children. In this regard, we can begin to think of the loon as more than an icon of the North. It is an icon for conservation.

I’d love to hear your loon stories. Please feel free to share in the “comments” section, below.

Brian Collins


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