How Does a Loon Find a Breeding Territory?

Locating a suitable breeding territory seems to occur by two means. First, many loons settle on lakes that resemble their natal lake in two respects: physical size and pH. That is, loons hatched and reared on tiny, acidic lakes settle to breed on tiny, acidic lakes. (A paper describing this finding is currently in the works.) Second, loons looking for territories snoop around in late summer in one year to look for territories with chicks and then seek to evict the same-sexed breeder from those territories the next year. By this means, a loon can claim a territory with a recent record of chick production.

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