[Greg Budney, Audio Curator, Macaulay Library] On many an occasion I’ve been camping in the Adirondacks, and one of my favorite periods is right at dusk when the lake becomes absolutely glass-like. The sun is setting but you can still see the silhouettes of trees, all these conical spires. Beautiful reflection on the water with the last few bits of sunlight and then you hear the wail of a loon. You’ll hear one individual of the pair give this long, mournful wail, which is essentially saying “I’m here. Where are you?” generally moments later you’ll hear the response from the other member of the pair giving its wail saying “I’m over here.” Loons are active at night. You can be out in a beautiful Adirondack Lake after dark or a northern Minnesota Lake and this is one of the characteristic evocative sounds you’re going to hear from that area. Something that will stick with you for the rest of your life. It just punctuates the fall of night and really sets the mood for what follows. The solitude, the peacefulness, it’s all wrapped up in that one vocalization. [Audio Recording: Steven R. Pantle; Photographs: Marie Read]

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It’s something we do every day. Whether we’re meeting a friend for lunch or playing a game of “Marco Polo,” we use communication to locate one another. Common Loons do the same thing. The first loon wails, “I’m here. Where are you?” Then the second responds, “I’m over here.” Listen as this Common Loon pair uses evocative wails to stay in touch.

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