The female loon lays anywhere from one to three olive colored eggs with dark spots. Both parents will incubate the eggs over the next month (28-30 days). Once they hatch, the chicks will leave the nest within 24 hours. Though they are already able to swim, they will often be seen riding on their parents’ backs for the first few weeks. The parents will continue to feed them for the first eight weeks or so as they learn to dive and fish for themselves. By about 12 weeks they are able to fly and be independent of their parents.
In the fall, the parents will head south first, leaving the young loons to gather into flocks and make their own journey south a few weeks later. Hence, it is not usual to see multiple loons on the river in late September. The young loons will remain down south for several years. They will start to migrate in their third year but it is not until they are about six years old before they start breeding. The oldest-known loon lived for over 24 years.