A nesting female loon along a swampy lake shore.
Bird experts believed for years that once a bird learned songs, the calls stayed relatively fixed for life. But a new Cornell University study finds that male loons change their tunes when they move into a new territory.
Professor Charles Walcott poses with a toy loon in his office. His latest research provides valuable insights into the loon’s social and territorial behavior, which has implications for conservation efforts.
The study, to be published in the March issue of the international publication Animal Behaviour, reports that while female loons usually disperse over a wide area when ready to breed, males tend to stake claim to a small lake or section of a larger lake near where they were hatched. But rivals often challenge resident males and fight for the territory and the females. The fights can be to the death, with males diving and rising up under a foe in an effort to spear a rival through the chest and heart with his long, pointed beak.
Blaine Friedlander | EurekAlert!
22.02.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
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