Eric Hanson, Loon biologist with The Vermont Center for Ecostudies, visited Derby Elementary School on March 13, presenting a program on the Common Loon to 45 third-grade students, their teachers and members of Four Seasons Garden Club.
For over 20 years Eric has done research on the Common Loon, working to conserve this beautiful bird native to so many Vermont ponds and lakes. He has presented educational programs like this to children and adults throughout Vermont.
In summer the loon is striking in appearance, with bright red eyes, black head and neck, white striping, checkering and spotting on its back. In fall its plumage changes to muted brown/tan. Hatchlings leave the nest on the first day and are able to fly in about 11 weeks. Young loons ride on their mother’s back. The unusual cries of the loon vary from wails to tremolos to yodels. Eric played those sounds for his audience. Loons can dive as deep as 200 feet in search of food. Their predators include large birds, fish, raccoons, weasels and skunks. Once threatened, the population of Common Loons is now stable in Vermont.
Twice each year Four Seasons Garden Club brings educational wildlife programs to area elementary schools. For more information about the garden club, visit their website: fourseasonsgardenclub.org.