This year on Squam we have only one surviving loon chick. Likewise Little Squam has only one remaining chick. Two total chicks for the two largest of the Squam Lakes. This ties us for the worst year on record for loon chicks on the lakes.
It is a challenge for loon parents to fledge their offspring. On average only 25% of loon chicks survive from hatching to fledging. There are things we can and must do to help these last two birds make it.
First and foremost, slow down.
Boat with caution! Please ask your friends, neighbors, vague acquaintances, everyone to be on high alert for these birds. Post a spotter, watch for Chick Watcher volunteers in their neon shirts.
Please help these birds! With only 12 pairs of birds this year (down from a high of 16) and 2 chicks (down from a high of 15) the Squam Lakes cannot afford the loss of these baby loons.
Become a chick watcher.
Call Jennifer Mattrick, volunteer coordinator at the SLA at 966-7336 or visit the website today, help watch over these chicks until they are old enough to migrate. Put your name on the list for next year. What better way to spend a lake day than watching these awesome birds?
Other things you can do- switch out your lead tackle to alternative materials (the LPC has an excellent link to sources, I changed my gear over and it was not as hard nor as expensive as you might think). On Squam, 50% of all adult mortality has been caused by lead poisoning, 20% from being hit by a boat.