The common loon is the state bird of Minnesota. This bird is very abundant in this part of the United States, and it can also be found in Canada. The state bird of Minnesota is very easily recognized with its black and white markings. It can typically be found on and around large, still bodies of water, like lakes.
At one time, the American goldfinch was considered the state bird of Minnesota. This bird was first suggested as a candidate in 1926, and again in 1947. The pileated woodpecker, the mourning dove, the wood duck, and the scarlet tanager were also possible candidates for the Minnesota state bird. The common loon won, however, and it finally became the official state bird of Minnesota in 1961.
Although these birds can be found throughout many parts of the United States, only one other state, Alaska, has more loons than Minnesota. These birds can also be found throughout Canada and parts of Greenland. A small population has also taken up residence in a small area of Iceland.
The common loon is a large bird, weighing in at around 18 pounds (8 kilograms). They will often reach more than 3.5 feet (107 centimeters) in length. Their wingspans will often be more than 5 feet (152 centimeters) wide.
Their heads and necks are black, with a white band surrounding the throat. They typically have black bodies with white spots on their backs, and they have a white underbelly. One of the most noticeable features of the state bird of Minnesota is its bright red eyes. Many scientists believe that these red eyes help the loon see well while it is underwater.
Minnesota is sometimes referred to as “The Land of 10,000 Lakes.” In truth, it actually has a little fewer than 12,000 natural lakes. This abundance of large bodies of water makes it the perfect habitat for the state bird of Minnesota.
While they are rather awkward on land, these birds are typically very graceful in the air and in the water. They will often land on the water, gliding in before skimming across the surface. The state bird of Minnesota is also known for diving to great depths, which will sometimes exceed 200 feet (60 meters), to catch fish and other prey. Many of these birds will also stay under the water for several minutes at a time.