The Common Loon:
The haunting cry of the Common Loon is a familiar sound, heard at lakefronts and on our television sets. The unmistakable sound is often compared to a yodel or a laugh.
The loon is equally striking in appearance: an elongated black bill, red eyes, shiny black head, white throat band, black and white checkered back and wings (the latter are white underneath), and white underbelly. They may also be distinguished by the way they ride low in the water and by their hunchbacked profiles while in flight.
Loons generally live 15-30 years in the wild. They nest across most of Canada and migrate to coastal regions throughout North America during the winter. One pair will dominate a small- or medium-sized lake and share a large lake with few others, each pair maintaining dominion in a distinct area such as a bay.
In 1987, the Royal Canadian Mint introduced the new one-dollar coin, the back of which featured a finely rendered image of the Common Loon. The image, combined with initial public resistance to the idea of replacing the paper dollar, led to the coin being called a "loonie." The public soon embraced the coin, however, and the "loonie" became a lasting tribute to a national symbol.