We have some very happy news this week! Two chicks have hatched on Little Squam!! The first chick hatched on Wednesday morning and the other hatched Wednesday evening. Both were looking great this morning and were being brooded by the male loon, whose wings provided a nice shelter from the drizzle.
In further happy news, another pair went on the nest on Big Squam this week. This is a pair that had a new pair member last year and did not nest, which is typical for loon pairs with a mate switch. I was fully expecting them to nest this year but was starting to get concerned by their apparent lack of interest in nesting. However, they finally settled down, and I am delighted to have this pair active again. The other nests on Big Squam are doing well also; and, if this continues, we should have chicks on Big Squam soon too!
Please ask your lake neighbors and other lake users to be very careful while boating and to be alert for the presence of the loon family on the lakes. Sadly, boat and jetski collisions are the second leading known cause of mortality for loon chicks, and we certainly do not one any of our chicks to become one of those statistics. Here are a few things to know about loon behavior that will help lake users protect loon chicks while
--The loons will cross with their chicks from one side of the lake (Little
Squam) or a cove (Big Squam) to the other, making them very susceptible to boat collisions.
--Chicks may be left alone on the surface of the water if both parents are simultaneously diving for food. The small size and dark coloration of loons chicks makes them more difficult to see.
--Although loon families favor certain areas of their territories, they may be found anywhere in the territory (or lake, in the case of Little Squam).
Please ask everyone to be very careful, to stay alert for loon families, and to boat slowly in areas where loons are present.
If you would like to help protect loon families on busy weekends/holidays, please consider volunteering for Loon Chick Watch. For more information, please visit http://www.squamlakes.org/news/become-loon-chick-watch-volunteer or contact Jennifer Mattrick (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you very much for your interest in the Squam loons! Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or reports.
Squam Lake Project Biologist
Loon Preservation Committee