How Do Loons Snooze?

Loons are a northern freshwater snowbird that winter here in SW FL in bay and near-shore ocean waters. They probably rarely set foot on land except when breeding. Thus one wonders, how do they sleep?

We have a backyard loon that hangs out near our dock in Lemon Bay. I have watched it take an afternoon nap while not only floating but also maintaining its position against a headwind. Talk about rocking in the cradle of the deep! It must keep its feet paddling while it snoozes but it is a light sleeper and quickly untucks its head at the sound of any potential danger.

Bill Dunson

About Bill Dunson

Bill Dunson, born in rural Georgia, skipped 12th grade and went directly to Yale. Bill subsequent-ly received a PhD in Zoology from the University of Michigan, studying softshell turtles. Bill is Professor Emeritus of Pennsylvania State University thanks to a career spent entirely at that institution, teaching and doing research on the physio-logical ecology and ecotoxiciology of reptiles, amphibians and fish. Always curious about nature, Bill has dedicated his life to learning and sharing his knowledge with others. He has served on many advisory boards here in Southwest Florida to preserve the water that gives life to our region.

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