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  • osstewardship

Water water everywhere, and MANY drops to drink!

#funfactfriday Did you know that Common Loons can drink salt water?

Common Loons are an iconic sight and sound in the summer on our big, open freshwater lakes, but they migrate to salty coastal waters in the winter. Because there isn't much freshwater around the ocean, loons (and most other seabirds) have a set of specialized glands just above their eyes called 'salt glands'. These glands function much like tiny kidneys, except that the only thing they filter out is salt. When the bird drinks seawater, the excess salt in the blood is filtered out by these glands and excreted as an extremely concentrated salt solution just above their eyes. This solution slips down the face into small grooves along their beak that prevent the salt from reentering the bird's mouth. The salty solution then drips off the beak back into the ocean.


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