I'm definitely one of the lucky ones. My whole life, my family has owned a camp in the Eddington area. Some of my earliest memories ever are from summers out there. Bullfrogs, woodpeckers, owls... the woods around us were always humming with noises. But on the lake of course, there's always the loons.

I'm not sure any amount of time spent on a lake and not hearing them, would seem surreal at best. If not downright sad. Who couldn't listen to their lonely calls all night long? It's the first thing that always pops into my mind when I think of camp.

I always thought they always seemed like such clumsy, fragile birds. I mean, have you ever seen a loon take off in flight? It looks like they're just going to fly into a tree along the shore. With their solid bone structure, as opposed to hollow like most birds, they weigh a ton. Watching them take off seems to defy gravity and physics.

But after I read this release from the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildilfe, I discovered I've been truly mistaken. It turns out, this whole time, loons are likely the most hardcore birds on the lake.

Last summer, state officials learned of a dead bald eagle floating on Highland Lake in Bridgton. With a puncture wound in the chest, it was assumed the eagle had been shot. The eagle was found face down in the water, and lord knows some folks get pretty testy about birds of prey going after baby loons.

Nearby, there was also a dead loon chick. The injuries on the chick were consistent with an eagle's talons, so that seemed pretty simple. But this made wardens wonder if the eagle hadn't been shot at all, and that it was actually attacked, and killed, by one of the parents of the baby loon.

loon did that? Seriously? I've definitely had loons charge my boat over the years when I accidentally got too close, and it's kinda scary. But after sending the body of the eagle for a proper necropsy, it was discovered that indeed, a loon used it's sharp, pointy razor-bill to pierce the chest of the eagle, and stab it in the heart. W. T. F.?!?!?

For real, never again will I do anything to agitate a loon. Remember earlier, I was saying how heavy they are. If that bill comes flying at your face at 15-20 m.p.h., you're gonna feel it. And I don't think you'll feel like you had a unique interaction with nature. You're gonna feel like you got stabbed in the face by a real-life Angry Bird.

I feel like my entire lakeside paradigm has had an un-healable shift. Loons are not to be trifled with. I'm sure sometimes the eagle wins, but not that day. But with their shiny black feathers, blood red eyes, and a freakin' mouth knife that will slice you up, my advice is to just leave the loons alone.

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