Squam Loon Report for May 31

Hello, Friends of Squam Loons!

Welcome to another season for the Squam loons!  I am thrilled and privileged to be monitoring the loons on the Squam Lakes for the Loon Preservation Committee for my 6th year, and I thank all of you for your support of and interest in Squam's loons.

Squam's loons are settling into their territories, and we already have three pairs on nests--two on Big Squam and the pair on Little Squam!  Of course, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a successful outcome for all of these nests.  While it is still too early to provide a definite number for territorial pairs this year, it appears one territory may be vacant after the death of the male loon of the pair last summer.  I will let you know what the number of pairs is as soon as I am confident in the status of each territory.

Two of Squam's banded loons have not returned to their territories, although the territories have filled in with unbanded loons.  I will keep my eyes open for the two banded birds and hope they turn up, but I am concerned.  We have blood work from one of these loons from 2012, which indicated that this loon was in poor health.  These health tests are an important part of the research LPC is doing on Squam as part of the Squam Lake Loon Initiative (SLLI), LPC's intensive research, monitoring, management, and outreach effort to understand and reverse the declines of loons on Squam Lake.  For more information on the SLLI, please visit http://www.loon.org/squam-lake-study.php.

Thank you to all who contacted your legislators regarding Senate Bill 89 to increase protections for New Hampshire's loons from lead fishing tackle.  As I'm sure many of you know, SB 89 will protect NH's loon population by banning the sale and freshwater use of toxic lead fishing sinkers and jigs weighing one ounce or less--still the largest known cause of NH (and Squam) adult loon mortality. The bill passed the New Hampshire Senate and House of Representatives and now returns for a concurrence vote in the Senate before going to the Governor for approval.  I will keep you informed if further action is needed to ensure this bill becomes law.
Thank you again for your support of this critically important bill!!

Tiffany Grade
Squam Lake Project Biologist
Loon Preservation Committee

Loon resting on water