Common Loon

A Common Loon was thrashing around as if trying to beat a shellfish that it had caught into submission. But what it was actually doing was positioning its catch to be swallowed. Loons typically eat fish but will grab shellfish and crustaceans as well. They, and ducks that eat shellfish, can’t crack the shell so they just swallow it whole and let their powerful gizzard crush it. But they apparently like to have their catch oriented for a smooth trip and toss the prey around until it is where they like it. These pictures capture some of the activity, including the big lump in the throat as the meal goes down.

After all the work, the Loon settles down while the gizzard does the rest.

2 thoughts on “Common Loon

  1. One summer on vacation in Maine when the kids were small we were having lunch in the car in the Nubble parking lot. The windows were down and the place was swarming with gulls feeding on anything the tourists would share. One of the kids tossed out a small cinnamon bun. Talk about a lump in the throat! I thought I was going to have to do the Heimlich on the poor bird! They were all screaming and worried until he/she finally got it down. They never forgot that meal!


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