July 21 – 27, 2023Vol. 25, No. 6

Never a Dull Moment

Lee Attix teaches BLA summer interns Brynne and Kate about nest egg fragments.

by Dick Greenan

We are approaching the finish line of this years’ loon breeding season, and I guess all is going as well as can be expected. There has been the typical loon activities with parents abandoning their second egg, intruders coming into their breeding territories in an attempt to take over, altercations with eagles, turtles and raccoons, just to name a few of their predators. A typical week in the life of our loons! UGH!!

But despite the aforementioned, we still have seven chicks on Long Pond but just two on all of Great Pond, although we still have two nests in the works with a potential of four more chicks. Pending a surprise or two, Long Pond is done for the season. Although it is a little late for loons to renest or to nest for that matter, there are usually one or two surprises every season in the way of new nests that we were not aware of. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, but with the young eyes of our Colby interns, a surprise nest popping up is unlikely!

Two new 2023 Long Pond chicks, 2 and 3 days old.

We had an interesting observation in lower Long Pond yesterday with Lee and our two Colby interns where we came across a raft of four loons in a territory that just produced a chick. The presence of a chick of course is great news but not have what looked like two adult loons coming into the territory to cause trouble. In this “fleet” of four loons we observed two hanging back and under further observation, discovered our breeding pair with their new jewelry (i.e. bands) so we know that they came out to intercept the two intruders, but what happened to the week-old chick?

Under such threats, the parents will often stash the chick(s) along the shoreline and sure enough, Lee discovered what looked like a little fuzz ball up against the shore 200 yards away was the chick. Under further observation over a twenty-minute period, we could see our banded pair constantly looking over in the chick’s direction to make sure everything was still good while escorting the intruders out and on their way! There is literally never a dull moment in the life of a loon.

The middle-banded parent looking over at her stashed chick while escorting this intruder out of her territory.
Trailing a parent and sibling, the chick at the rear seems to be pleading, “Wait for me!“

Dick Greenan is chairman of the Belgrade Lakes Association’s Loon Preservation Project.

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