August 13 – 19, 2021Vol. 23, No. 10

Bathing Antics

by Dick Greenan

An adult loon bathing in Long Pond.

Q: There was a loon out in front of our dock that looked like it was in its death throes or maybe he was wrapped up in fishing line and was trying to get undone. What should I do with him? He seemed to calm down after a while but I didn't know who to call.

A: Thank you for reaching out. Most likely your adult loon, and I am assuming it was an adult, was merely bathing him/herself. Bathing antics are merely a part of their preening calisthenics.

The classic "wing flap" can be part of stretching or drying after a bath, but it can also be a territorial display.

The more we study these creatures and their behavior, the more thought provoking they become. When you see an adult bending over backwards to scratch the back of their head with their eyes closed, you can picture just how good that must feel!

Relaxing times, particularly during this breeding period, can be short lived as they all constantly being challenged by their own kind, mostly territorial disputes.

An adult loon lands on its belly, with the "landing gear" up!

Dick Greenan is chairman of the Belgrade Lakes Association's Loon Preservation Project. If you have a particular question regarding our Belgrade loon population, please email your inquiry to, and he will try to answer you either in this column or via email.

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