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Loons



Loons
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.75

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    chaperones, pointed, yellow-billed, various, fliers, loon, black-throated, inability, nape, olive-brown, red-throated, tremolo, white-billed, loons, bass, conserve
     content words:    North America


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Loons   

1     Loons are gifted divers. When they dip below the surface, they hold their heads in line with their necks to minimize drag. Their muscular, webbed feet are set far back from their streamlined bodies. This maximizes thrust underwater (but hampers their ability to walk on land). Many of the hollow bones found in most birds have been replaced by solid ones, so they can sink better and faster. Thanks to all these unique traits, loons are able to remain submerged for more than a minute and dive to a depth of over 200 feet! Such accomplishments, undoubtedly, helped loons earn their nickname, diver.
 
2     Living in lakes or along shores, loons can be found in North America, Europe, and Asia. Of the five different species of loons in the world, the white-billed loon (or the yellow-billed loon) is the biggest. It can grow up to 36 inches long. Slightly smaller than the white-billed loon, the common loon (or the great northern diver), is the national bird of Canada. Measuring about 24-27 inches in length, the red-throated loon is the most petite of all loons. Aside from these three, the remaining two loon species are the Pacific loon and the Arctic loon (or the black-throated diver).
 
3     Loons are strong fliers. Yet, because of their inability to travel easily by foot, they do not take off from the land. Rather, they run along the water's surface and use the waterway as their runway. As soon as they gain sufficient speed, they become airborne. Their top speed is about 80 miles per hour. Loons have tiny, red eyes and strong, tapered bills. Their wings are small and pointed. They are quite vocal, capable of making four types of sounds. The wail is to call out for their partners and offspring. The tremolo is used to voice distress and alert. The yodel, produced by male loons only, is employed to mark territory or to confront intruders. Lastly, the hoot is reserved to make their presence known.

Paragraphs 4 to 5:
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Animal Themes
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Birds
             Birds


Oceans
             Oceans



Animals
    Amphibians  
 
    Birds  
 
    Deserts  
 
    Fish  
 
    Freshwater  
 
    Grasslands  
 
    Insects  
 
 
    Invertebrates  
 
    Mammals  
 
    Oceans  
 
    Polar Regions  
 
    Rain Forest  
 
    Reptiles  
 


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