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Loons are returning to Northern Michigan

A loon
A loon

Loons are migrating to their northern summer homes after spending the winter in the Gulf Coast.

In northern Michigan, it is time to hear the famed call of the Loon again.

When cold weather strikes in October, the Common Loon migrates south to the Golf Coast. They stay there until the lakes thaw in the spring. Their northern migration typically occurs in April.

Luanne Jaruzel is the Michigan Loon Preservation Association membership chairmen and secretary. She said Loons just know when it’s time to head north.

Jaruzel said, "they'll come back as soon as the lake start to thaw. And it's pretty amazing. It's like, built into their brain. I don't know how they know. The day the ice leaves, they show up...most of our rangers report the day their lake thaws out, the loons will be there within one or two days."

Loons are territorial animals, according to Jaruzel. They head to the same lake each year, and they mate with the same partner each year.

Jaruzel said, "They'll go to their same lake each year. The chicks come back when they're about three years old... They will often come back to the lake they were hatched on, but the parents will chase them off because that's their territory... If there's a lake suitable within about 20 miles of the lake they were hatched on, they'll pick that if it's not already claimed by another loon."

In Michigan, Loons are most common in the Upper Peninsula and in the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula. The best chances during the spring to spot a loon are during dawn and dusk. However, once summer hits, loons can be seen during all hours of the day. Jaruzel said the best lakes to see loons on are large lakes with clear water and fish.

It's important to note that if you spot a loon you should keep your distance. The birds are easily scared, and if they leave their nests, it could leave their eggs exposed to predators.

Jaruzel said, "they're skittish for one thing... If [people] see one on a nest, they need to keep their distance. Like 200 feet away or more is recommended. Because if they leave the nest, that leaves it unguarded...Loons don't have a successful mating until they're four or five years old. So it's not like every year they're laying eggs. Once they can even try, loons only lay one or two eggs at a time."

If you want to learn more about the Michigan Loon Preservation Association, or the Common Loon, head to

Ella Pierzecki is a freshman at Central Michigan University. She is majoring in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts and minoring in Journalism and Political Science. Ella is from Canton, Michigan where she loves to play with her dog. She is a huge baseball fan and loves cheering on the Detroit Tigers. At WCMU, Ella is excited to meet new people and develop her skills in journalism.