‘Ottawa’ Science of Winter: Loon Couples Call it Quits for Winter
This winter Tom Spears looks at what makes our coldest season tick. It’s a series we call The Science of Winter, and today we catch up with the loons whose turbulent family lives provided story after story in our recent Science of Summer. Have they settled down quietly? Not a chance.
The loon couples that seemed devoted and inseparable all summer have just done a Brad and Angelina.
She’s spending winter in Mississippi or Florida while he may be somewhere in Virginia. But they’ll reconcile in the spring — driven not so much by romance as by desire to maintain territory.
For the moment, the two might not even recognize each other if they met. Gone is the glamorous black and white look of summer; they’re in dull grey now, and alone.
“Males and females migrate to the wintering ground singly and winter solitarily,” says biologist Walter Piper of Chapman University, who has spent decades watching loons in Wisconsin.