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A Loon in Peril

by: Elizabeth Croxall

Early one morning, in August of 2003, at our summer home on beautiful Lake Sesekinika, my husband Roy and I were going into town.  As always, I looked down at the lake as I was walking to the car.  I was very surprised to see a large majestic loon swimming at the shoreline.  Seeing a loon is certainly not unusual here, but to see one right on the shoreline is strange indeed.

When we returned in the afternoon, I immediately went to work in my garden and to my amazement, as I looked toward the lake, I could see the loon still swimming on the shoreline.  I immediately called Roy and we walked down to the lake.  The loon made no attempt to swim away, but seemed to welcome our arrival.  As we approached, we could see what the problem was.  This beautiful bird had a fishing line wrapped tightly around his beak.  Roy went into the water and held the bird at his feet.  The loon made no attempt to escape, but sat there completely passive.  I ran to the shed to retrieve a pair of pliers and after a considerable time, we managed to remove the fishing line and lure.  Our beautiful loon, immediately started desperately drinking water and then slowly started to swim away, continually drinking water as he went.  Half way across the lake, he raised himself, spread his huge wings, called out his mysterious sound and then quickly swam out of sight.  This gesture, my husband and I interpreted as, "Thank You."

We later heard that five days before, other cottagers had spotted the troubled loon.  They tried to catch him to remove the line but the bird would not let them come near him.  I can only imagine that after the five days the loon was desperate and therefore came to our shore for help.  How amazingly intelligent this bird was!  In his time of peril, knowing he had no choice, he approached human beings for help.


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