Looney tunes

I heard my first loon this morning. There’s a tiny lake behind my cottage on the other side of the road that is more a wetland than a lake. I think the loon had been there and then it flew over my cottage. It really is an incredible sound.

A couple of years ago, there was so much hand wringing, cottagers asking, “I don’t see the loons anymore? Where have they gone?” Oh the environment…what can we do to save them?

Then a bunch of well-meaning cottagers (full transparency, I was one of them) came up with a plan to help the loons come back and stay on our lake. We had a couple of pretty cool loon platforms built and set in different parts of the lake. People volunteered to keep them going, many helped retrieve them when they floated away. Mostly, ducks used them. Which is still okay.

But the loons have never really come back to the lake. Should we be worried?


Our lake has many cottages. And motor boats. And wake boats. The prime nesting time for loons is in and around the Dominion Day long weekend (for those of you who don’t know what that is, I’ll dumb it down for you…Canada Day.) That’s the weekend when summer really starts. Kids trying out their new wake boards, dads blowing down the lake in their new wake boats.

So the shoreline is always alive. Waves smacking against docks, crashing through the marshy areas of the lake, families and friends laughing, screaming, and having a blast. It’s summer in Canada, so of course we are going to do that!

Why ever would the loons want to be here if they can’t have a calm shoreline for bringing up baby? Are we killing them? No, we aren’t. Canada’s wilderness has thousands of wetlands and lakes where loons can be far away from the happy Canadians and their summer pleasures. So of course we see fewer of them.

It’s sort of like that Looney Tunes cartoon where Porky Pig went out in search of the last Dodo. Weren’t they supposed to be extinct? And he found a whole land full of happy crazy Dodos who just wanted to get away from the people. Oh sure, we DO have to be careful with our environment, and protect those wetlands for all the birds and critters who live there. Let’s just keep our jet skis and wake boats on our lakes that are already changed and leave the marshes and unspoiled lakes to the creatures who need them. Because WE need them too.

(For the record, this post wasn’t a selfish excuse to embed two clips from my favourite cartoons. Oh hell, yes it was.)