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Wild Women: Loons Like Arkansas in the Winter

You'll find them around our larger lakes.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The common loon is a common visitor to Arkansas during the winter months.

Anyone who's spent a lot of time around lakes is familiar with their call. Although less vocal in the winter, a loon will sometimes emit its distinctive call which is one of those magical sounds that can put a chill down your spine.

When loons come to Arkansas, they head for our large, clear reservoirs. 

In the summertime, loons have a distinctive black and white coloring. In winter, they are plain gray above and white below.

Other members of the loon family occasionally visit Arkansas. They include: the red-throated, Pacific and yellow-billed.
 
Most birds have hollow bones, but the fish-eating loon's bones are solid, which help it quickly dive in search of its prey.

Loons are awkward on land with their legs placed far back on their bodies. These water lovers only hit the turf to mate and incubate their eggs.

They are superb swimmers and have been clocked in the air at 70 miles per hour.

If you're out boating this winter and see a loon preparing for take-off, watch them use the water's surface like an airstrip. They need 30 yards to a quarter mile to take flight.

Lake Maumelle in central Arkansas is a likely place to spot loons during our winter months. Take advantage of short birding trails along the south side of the lake along Hwy. 10. Also, keep your eyes and ears peeled at any of our large reservoirs: Beaver, Ouachita, Lake Hamilton and Catherine, Lake Millwood, and others.

Click here for the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission's Watchable Wildlife guide.

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