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The Haunting Voice of the Common Loon

One of the most evocative bird voices!
© Andrew Reding CC View Large

The call of the Common Loon brings to mind a summer visit to northern lakes. A "yodel" call is given by a male on his breeding territory. With his neck outstretched, the male waves his head from side to side, sending his eerie calls across forests and open water. The yodel entices females and asserts a claim of territory. Nothing common about this bird!

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®  

The Haunting Voice of the Common Loon

Written by Bob Sundstrom

[Common Loon yodel call]

This is BirdNote.

One of the most evocative bird voices belongs not to a delicate songbird, but to a sleek, black-and-white waterbird.

[Common Loon yodel call]

That’s the haunting “yodel” of a male Common Loon, a sound that echoes across northern lakes where loons nest in summer.

[Common Loon yodel call]

With his neck outstretched, the male waves his head from side to side, sending his eerie calls across forests and open water. The yodel entices females and asserts his  claim to a territory.

Common Loons have a repertoire of different calls. Here’s the “tremolo.”

[Common Loon tremolo calls]

And this is the eerie “wail.”

[Common Loon wail call]

Loons vary the intensity of their tremolos and wails depending on the situation: sometimes they sing only to one another in duets. But during nighttime choruses or when flying over another loon’s territory, they’re singing for all to hear.

[Another Loon call]

Whether it’s a yodel, wail, or tremolo, it’s hard to forget the haunting voice of the Common Loon.

[Common Loon yodel]


For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.

###
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie
Editor: Ashley Ahearn
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Assistant Producer: Mark Bramhill
Narrator: Mary McCann
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Yodel call ML# 197039 recorded by B. Mcguire. Tremolo call ML# 53188 recorded by S. Pantle. Wail call ML# 107963 recorded by S. Pantle.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2019 BirdNote   November 2019

ID#  COLO-03-2019-11-05   COLO-03

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