Loon Update - July 11 2013
It has been a busy week for the loons on the Squam Lakes. We have some
wonderful news--the first chick has hatched on the Big Lake!! The chick
is doing very well and is being well cared for by its parents. There was
no evidence of a second egg, so it appears that female only laid this one.
The chicks on Little Squam also are doing very well; and, happily, made
it through the busy holiday weekend.
I would like to thank everyone who helped make it a safe holiday for the
Squam loons. A special thank you to all of you who helped educate people
about protecting the loons and intervened in cases of loon harassment. I
really appreciate your help in getting the word out and protecting the
Unfortunately, there is also some very sad news to report this week. Just
this morning, we had 3 nest failures. Two of the nests were lost to
predation by mammals. In a particularly sad situation, one of these nests
was due to hatch today. The loons were on the nest yesterday afternoon,
but a mammal took the egg overnight. The third nest failure resulted from
a combination of rising water levels and intrusions by other loons. One
of the eggs was crushed by one of the loons, and they subsequently
abandoned the other egg, which I collected for contaminant testing. This
was a re-nesting for this pair; and, in the original nest, one of the eggs
was also crushed by the adults. We will be investigating whether the eggs
laid by this female had particularly thin shells, perhaps due to the
effects of chemical contaminants.
At this point, we have two active nests on Big Squam, plus the family with
the chick. There is one other pair that had been looking "nesty" for the
last week, but they seem to be losing interest. I hope that they will
settle down eventually.
Please remind your neighbors and other lake users to keep a careful eye
out for the loon chicks when boating and to maintain a respectful distance
(~100-150 ft) from the loon families. This will allow the adults to focus
on caring for the chicks and ensure that the chicks get the care they
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, or if you see an
injured or dead loon. You may also visit LPC's website (www.loon.org) for
more information about loons and the Squam Lake Loon Initiative, our
intensive research into the challenges the loons of Squam have been
facing. Thank you for your interest in the Squam loons!
Squam Lake Project Biologist
Loon Preservation Committee