t’s a chilly November afternoon on the Choptank River
on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. As watermen in work-boats motor back to harbor for the evening, the moon
rises and airplanes trace silver trails across a darkening
sky. A strange, unearthly laughter wobbles across the undulating waves. It’s the call of a loon—a fishing bird known as
the “spirit of the north.” Loons spend most of the year in
Canada and the northern United States. But every fall, loons
visit the Chesapeake Bay during their long migration to
warmer waters off Florida and the Carolinas.