Feathers are what I look for. And spots. Loons spend January flightless. They shed all their flight feathers this month, and cannot fly for several weeks. It is in late January and early February that I start looking for signs that the molt to summer plumage is on. It is a wonderful transition to witness - from the uniform, demure gray winter attire of winter to the wildly beautiful summer wardrobe that loons will be sporting soon, with all-new flight feathers. The first sign is down feathers on the water, then spots on the loons, which is a clear statement that the feathers they are wearing are the beginnings of a brand new look. We were out this Saturday on a Jocassee winterbird tour and I looked carefully for signs of change. It’s not happening yet, but it’s close. We found one beautiful winter loon feather floating. The time is near. ~B