Loon bird (Gavia fam.)



Loon birds (Gavia fam.)

***** Location: North America
***** Season: Summer and see below
***** Category: Animal


The Loons (N.Am.) or Divers (UK/Ireland) are a group of aquatic birds found in many parts of North America and northern Europe. A loon is the size of a large duck or small goose, which it somewhat resembles in shape when swimming, but they are completely unrelated to waterfowl.

Their plumage is largely black-and-white, with grey on the head and neck in some species, and a white belly, and they have a spear-shaped bill. All living species of loons are members of one genus (Gavia) in a family (Gaviidae), and order (Gaviiformes) all of their own.

During the summer, loons nest on freshwater lakes and/or large ponds.
Usually one or two eggs are laid in June.

© WIKIPEDIA with more

loon chicks, kigo for summer
loon, some poets suggest as kigo for winter, others for spring.

Bill Higginson, Haiku World (1996)
"Loons go north for the summer, when their striking breeding plumage and calls and displays make them a seasonal topic around lakes in the northern reaches of the north temperate zone.
(Japan and most of coastal US see loons in winter, when their plumage is dull and their habits less noticeable)."


Quotes by Thoreau, Henry David

In the fall the loon (Colymbus glacialis) came, as usual, to moult and bathe in the pond, making the woods ring with his wild laughter before I had risen.... When I went to get a pail of water early in the morning I frequently saw this stately bird sailing out of my cove within a few rods.
If I endeavored to overtake him in a boat, in order to see how he would manuvre, he would dive and be completely lost, so that I did not discover him again, sometimes, till the latter part of the day. But I was more than a match for him on the surface. He commonly went off in a rain.


This is of the loon's do not mean its laugh, but its looning, is a long-drawn call, as it were, sometimes singularly human to my ear, hoo-hoo-ooooo, like the hallooing of a man on a very high key, having thrown his voice into his head. I have heard a sound exactly like it when
breathing heavily through my own nostrils, half awake at ten at night, suggesting my affinity to the loon; as if its language were but a dialect of my own, after all.


Formerly, when lying awake at midnight in those woods, I had listened to hear some words or syllables of their language, but it chanced that I listened in vain until I heard the cry of the loon. I have heard it occasionally on the ponds of my native town, but there its wildness is not enhanced by the surrounding scenery.


I am no more lonely than the loon in the pond that laughs so loud, or than Walden Pond itself. What company has that lonely lake, I pray?



*Mould, Tom 1969-*

*Loon: Memory, Meaning, and Reality in a Northern Dene Community (review)*
Journal of American Folklore - Volume 117, Number 464, Spring 2004, pp. 213-214

American Folklore Society: search for LOON

Compiled by Isa Kocher

Worldwide use


loon, ahi アビ
This is not a kigo.

Things found on the way


breaking silence --
the loon's song
echos to another



common loons
glide gracefully past
bits of ice



Related words

***** Grebe (Podiceps family of Birds) Kaitsuburi (Japan)

***** Water birds, mizudori 水鳥


No comments: