The Great Northern Diver, known in North America as the Common Loon (is a large water bird. The Great Northern Diver breeds in Canada, parts of the northern United States, Greenland, Iceland and Alaska. The diver has been known to nest in northern Scotland on rare occasions. The female lays 1 to 3 eggs on a hollowed-out mound of dirt and vegetation very close to water. Both parents build the nest, sit on the egg or eggs, and feed the young.
The diver is a fish-eater, catching its prey underwater, diving as deep as 200 feet (60 m). The bird needs a long distance to gain momentum for take-off, and is ungainly on landing. Its clumsiness on land is due to the legs being positioned at the rear of the body: this is ideal for diving but not well-suited for walking. When the birds land on water, they skim along on their bellies to slow down - rather than on their feet, as these are set too far back. However, the loon swims gracefully on the surface and dives as well as any flying bird. It is a strong flyer migrating hundreds of miles.
In Ransome's worldEdit
The Great Northern Diver is an essential plot element in the last Ransome book Great Northern?.