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Muskoka Morning 
12 x 36

Coffee on the dock, mist rising on the lake...the call of the loon. It's a scene stolen from every Canadian cottagers memory, and a sound so unmistakable in our northern territory. Cherished, the loon's call is a familiar reminder of lazy summers spent lounging in the sun after a harsh winter. But are we doing all we can to protect this iconic symbol of our country?

The common loon (Gavia immer) spends summers on our lakes, migrating for the winter to either the Great lakes, or Atlantic ocean. These birds rarely leave the water, except during nesting season, and then, stay as close to the water as they can get. Specialized divers, loons can reach depths of 70 meters in search of food. A variety of small fish, including yellow perch and smallmouth bass,make up their diet, as well as crayfish, frogs and aquatic invertebrates.

With such an exclusive diet, the common loon is susceptible to population decline due to wetland degradation. Fish, frogs and invertebrates rely heavily on wetlands and aquatic vegetation. Fry and tadpoles need these shoreline plants to survive. More and more lakes and rivers are getting stripped of the emergent and submergent vegetation as cottagers remove it from their swimming areas. Pollution from motorized boats, and increasing human activity is also heavily affecting loons and their food source. Protecting and restoring wetlands is a key factor in preserving our lakes and the wildlife that relies so heavily on them, including the Common loon.