This week, we had one of my favorite bird rescues ever: because it was so successful and the bird even seemed grateful! Casey Jenkins, one of our hospitality interns was walking the beach with me to look for turtle tracks, and we found a loon far above the waterline.
The bird seemed alert and not critical, so we finished the turtle walk, took the dog home, grabbed a towel to hold it with, and went back to the beach.
According to the Loon Preservation Committee in New Hampshire,
Adult loons may fly to different lakes to feed, but the adaptations that make loons such efficient divers also make them heavy and slow to take wing. To take off from a lake, loons run along the surface into the wind. The distance needed to gain flight depends on wind speed; on a calm day a loon might run as far as several hundred meters before it gains enough speed to take off. Once in the air, the loon’s relatively small wingspan (130-140 cm) carries it at average speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.
So this poor buddy probably landed on or near our beach and needed a rest. We checked to be sure that the wings didn’t have an obvious injury, and then wrapped it in a towel to hold the wings close so it wouldn’t injure itself during the golf cart ride to the dock. Glasses and gloves help protect us from handling a disgruntled bird.
Jan was on the dock with us, and she was part of our wishing the bird well and watching the pretty morning unfold as the look headed off. It was so exciting to hear the vocalization… we so seldom hear that here. And before heading north, that bird looked back, stretched, and I swear he said thank you!