Loon Report July 31
I am thrilled to report that all of our chicks are still with us! There was a scare this past week when one of the families was battling with another pair of loons for several days and the chick was not being seen. Fortunately, the pair got the upper hand, everything is settled down in the territory, and the chick is again with its parents. During these battles, chicks will hide under bushes to avoid detection by intruding loons--but this also adds stress to the biologist's life who can't detect the hidden chicks either!
Sadly, I collected the body of the male from the Mooney Point pair last Friday. Fortunately, the people who discovered it under their dock called LPC so I was able to collect it. We will be necropsying it to determine the cause of death, as we do for all the loons we collect. By investigating causes of mortality for individual loons, we can better understand what factors are influencing populations as a whole. LPC's long-term research into causes of loon mortality statewide forms an important foundation for our ongoing efforts to make the size standard for lead-headed jigs in New Hampshire more protective of our loon population. Closer to home, this research has shown that the number of Squam loons dying from lead fishing tackle doubled following the reconstruction of the public boat ramp--concomitant with statistically-significant increases in the number of boats and fishing tournaments on the lake. While we cannot say that this is cause-and-effect, it is an interesting correlation. I will keep you all posted on the outcome of this necropsy.
As you all know, it has been another tough year on Squam for our loons, and this report will update you on the intensive research LPC has been doing to understand the causes of the declines and reproductive failures on Squam Lake. You can also visit our website to watch a short video on the SLLI and our research (linked either from our SLLI webpage http://www.loon.org/squam-lake-study.php or our homepage www.loon.org).
Finally, the 7th annual Squam Swim to benefit the Loon Preservation Committee's SLLI will be taking place this Friday, Aug. 3rd. You are all invited to come down to Sandwich Beach at 11:30 to welcome the swimmers in, share some refreshments, and celebrate their accomplishment! You can support the Squam loons and the swimmers' tremendous efforts with a gift to the SLLI at http://www.loon.org/donation-form.php.