Common Loon Chick Learning the Wing Flap


In the early days of a young Loon's life, the chick must learn many behavoirs important to its survival such as hunting for food and avoiding predators. The Loon parents closely watch the chick and rarely allow the chick to be on its own for any length of time.  Initially of course the chick is flightless and in fact spends most of its time riding on a parent's back. The chick will continue to do this as its wings and legs muscles gain strength and its wing feathers grow in.  In an adult Loon the wing flap is usually observed following a lengthy dive as the Loon sheds water from its wing feathers.  In the chick, the wing flap may serve this purpose as well as exercising its developing wing muscles.

The following sequence of images shows a young chick trying a wing flap under the watchful eye of the adult Loon.


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