After a month of waiting, two olive-brown eggs jiggled beneath mother-loonâs warm body. White lines on her neck joined up with black back feathers. She was nervous in her nest, knowing a raccoon nearby searched for any unprotected eggs.
Father-loon swam quietly back and forth watching for any crows or seagulls. They flew this way once in a while, searching for tasty loon eggs. The family nest was made up of leaves, moss and grass. It was well hidden on the end of a finger of land poking into the remote lake.
Suddenly, two chicks began pecking at their shells. Sharp beaks made strong jabs until the first chick tumbled out. Mother-loon watched carefully, uttering a strange language of love and excitement, for her babies.
One chick did a somersault as she rolled into the sunlight.
Father-loon heard the commotion and climbed into the nest with his clumsy steps. Powerful legs were set far back on his body as he lurched forward.
Mother-loon tucked her chicks under large wings, for protection and warmth.
As early as next day both chicks were ready to leave the nest. Father and mother loons dragged themselves to the edge of land and splashed into the lake.
Two chattering chicks followed. They became fearful, each selecting a parent and climbing onto their backs.
It was nice and safe up there.
Mother and father loon claimed this wilderness area as a nesting place for their family. Over the next few days, both chicks learned how to survive in the wilderness. Food brought by mother-loon included a menu of frogs and insects, and leeches. Both chicks were soon able to bob like corks and begin diving for their own fish.
Life became simple and fun-filled. After each dayâs swimming, they leaped once more onto their parentâs backs for rest. Mother-loon often chased her chicks on the lake. Then lead them towards the shelter of their nest.
Today, the youngest was careless, not understanding there were many enemies. Mink, foxes, turtles and pike fish were not friends. Neither was the raccoon, always smacking his lips while on the hunt for unguarded baby loons.
The family had just returned from a little trip, exploring the bay in which they lived. Suddenly, a splashing noise came from nearby. Both chicks became fearful as they watched their parents moving about frantically. They didnât realize a huge pike fish was following them.
A rising and falling of warning sounds came from both parents. And the family zigzagged quickly towards their nest.
Suddenly, a bull moose raised his head from behind a wall of reeds, where he had been nibbling tender shoots. It startled him to see a family of loons heading in his direction. One foolish chick left the safety of his family, curious about this new visitor.
Mother-loon immediately shooed her other chick under the safety of her wings. And father-loon skipped across the water, hoping to distract the intruder. His duty was to protect his family, even if it meant putting himself in danger.
The daring chick continued paddling towards the moose, amazed at its size, not realizing the foolishness of his actions. From beneath the surface of the lake a dark shape appeared. One snap of its large open mouth gave the pike a delicious lunch.
Mother loon knew something terrible had taken place, as her careless chick disappeared from view. Echoes of sadness bounced from one side of the bay to the other.
Father-loon heard her sorrow and immediately shouted an imitation of a wolf pack, meant to scare away any intruders.
The moose hurried away, as haunting calls followed him across the bay. But frantic calls were all for nothing. Mother-loon was left with only one chick. In a few moments she led her remaining baby to the safety of their nest. Father loon quickly joined them.
Because of this tragedy the family became much closer. In earnest both parents taught their last chick everything they could. They wanted to ensure she lived a long life like her own parents.
Days and weeks passed by and summer moved closer to autumn. When other loons arrived for a visit to the lake a chorus of greetings traveled from one family to another. By this time, baby chick had grown older and wiser.
She was three months old and flying with much more confidence. In another four years, she would develop red eyes, with black and white colors like her parents.
Soon, the weather began to change and snowflakes appeared. Ice began to form along the shoreline, warning that winter was on the way. Flying south took place one day as morning mist drifted lazily across the lake. Sunrise had not yet taken place and bullfrogs were still silent.
The family of three skipped across the watery surface, circling once around the bay. Natural senses reminded them this was not a farewell to their home in the wilderness. Powerful wings helped them climb easily into the sky.
Their melodious calls rose and fell as a beautiful symphony. It was their departing song. Instinct reminded baby chick she would return with her parents next spring. This was her home, where she was born. She stretched her young wings and soared high above.
A burst of flapping wings brought her alongside her parents. Soon, they were simply faraway dots in the sky.
* * *
Â Richard L. Provencher
All messages for Richard or Esther can be sent directly to: email@example.com. They enjoy reading comments on their work. Readers are welcome to visit their website at: www.wsprog.com/rp/. Free downloads also available. They live in Truro, Nova Scotia. Canada. Blessings for your loved ones
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