Well, we scored another first yesterday morning while heading out on upper Long Pond with Belgrade Lake Association’s illustrious Loon Project crew, consisting of loon expert Lee Attix, Colby College interns Kate Jaffe and Brynne Robbins, and yours truly. We were not 50 yards from the dock when Lee observed one of our two Tracy Cove chicks up against the shore approximately 100 yards away. We motored over and within three to four minutes, there were numerous splashes and our chick disappeared! Less than 30 seconds later, an adult popped up but still no chick. Where did this adult come from? What happened to our chick? MASS PANIC SET IN!! As the adult swam maybe 5 yards away, we noticed the chick washed up against the shore.
The only adult that should have been this deep in the territory with a lone chick should have been one of the two recently banded parents, but this adult loon was an
It was feigning dead, even as this intruder pecked its head. We felt our only alternative was to capture the chick to protect it from this intruder and hopefully reunite it with his/her sibling and parent(s). We placed the chick, wrapped in a towel, into a cooler and set out to find the rest of the family.
Approximately a mile down the lake we located the sibling and banded female, the “mother”. YEAH!!!! Now the interesting part!! Lee reached over the bow to release our rescued chick and he/she immediately spun around and not once, not twice, but three times, trying to get a piece of Lee!!! So much for gratitude!! With Lee running for cover (not really!), the chick dove and swam over to join his/her sibling and mother.
Our “rescuee” immediately tried to intervene in the feeding. The mother ignored him for the first ten minutes or so, but finally relented. She appeared totally uninterested, as if she were asking, “Where did you come from??!!”
You’ve got to have thick skin to be a BLA Loon Volunteer! But it is incredibly rewarding! If you have a particular question regarding our Belgrade loon population, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to answer your question either in this column or via email.
Dick Greenan is chairman of the Belgrade Lakes Association’s Loon Preservation Project.
©2023 by Summertime in the Belgrades. All rights reserved.