The Shenandoah Valley and surrounding areas received a lot of rain during the week of May 6 – and along with rain, came the loons!
Two Common Loons were admitted to the Center just one day apart – both were found stranded. Common Loon #13-0795 was picked up from the road in Fluvanna County on May 9; Common Loon #13-0798 was found on a tennis court in Albemarle County on the morning of May 10.
At this time of year, loons are migrating north back to their breeding grounds; the loons that we see in this area are likely flying back to eastern Canada or the northeastern United States. Loons are unique and amazing birds designed for life on the water – their powerful legs are situated far back on their bodies. This makes them adept at diving and swimming, but makes them quite awkward on land. Loons will sometimes mistake flooded roads and parking lots as safe bodies of water in which to land – and then they become stranded! Loons need a “runway” to launch themselves into the air – they typically require a large body of water so that they may flap their wings and run on top of the water to get lift.
Loon #13-0795 was released within the same day at Sherando Lake, about eight miles from the Center. Front-desk coordinator Leighann released that loon -- and took a short video clip. Loon #13-0798 was also released at Sherando Lake on the afternoon of May 10 by wildlife rehabilitator Amber and several rehabilitation externs. On the way to and from the release, the externs stopped to move two Eastern Painted Turtles out of the road!
Video of both Common Loon releases: