Too Close - A Loon's Penquin Dance
photo by: Ken W. Watson, 2005
(note: you might have to scroll to the right to see the full photo)

The lower set of four photos is what happens when you get too close to a loon's chick(s). In this case I was quietly photographing a loon and her chick with a long telephoto lens (at what I thought was a respectful distance). She didn't seem particularly disturbed but suddenly, to one side, another loon erupted with a grand display.

Known as the "Penguin Dance" it is a distraction technique used by a loon to scare or lure away predators, in this case, me. The other loon was the male and the first photo shows him roaring across the water beating his wings. In the second photo he puts on the brakes, coming to a sudden stop with a splash of water. In the third photo he is rearing up and the fourth photo shows the Penguin dance. Needless to say I backed away. All through this display the female and chick quietly swam away.

This is the first time I've seen this dance and if I keep my proper distance from loons and their chicks it will be the last time.

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URL: www.rideau-info.com/canal/images/nature/img-penguindance.html
© 2005 Ken W. Watson