Like other waterfowl babies, baby loons are called chicks. After an incubation period of about 30 days, the hatchlings leave the nest on their first day and grow quickly on a diet of insects and small fish.
The juveniles are able to catch their own fish within two months and take flight at about 11 weeks. They are fully on their own at 12 weeks, when the parents begin migration in the fall. At this time, the young form flocks on northern lakes and follow suit a few weeks later. Once they reach the coastal ocean waters, the loons remain there for two years, returning in the third to the northern lakes where they were born to live a routine adult life.