Loons

On Saturday the 17th, the loon census was done and there are at least 12 loons on our lakes including one in Crescent Lake. This is a great year and there are two families, each with two chicks. This, though, means that we have to protect the chicks from harm that includes people getting too close. The pictures that you see here are taken with an extreme telephoto lens (1500 mm) and then the pictures are cropped. They are taken from around 40 to 50 yards. PLEASE don’t try to get much closer to the loon chicks. Parents worry, they don’t behave normally. Give them their space! A stressed loon is not a happy loon. If you see people getting closer, speak to them. We want our loon chicks to survive. Also, the chicks can’t dive well if at all so if they are in areas with motor boats, they are at risk. Therefore, do not get between them and the shore as that tends to make them go farther out into the lake.

There are two sets of chicks, one set, seen near the Sister Islands, were probably hatched on the 16th of July. This is late but loons apparently tend to nest later on larger lakes. The chicks should be able to fly before the lake freezes.

Photo by Peg Mongiello

The other family seems to hang out near Townsend Shore and were hatched around July 10th and are a bit larger (and of course wiser).

They have started to do “loon” things such as “foot waggles” as they stretch their legs.

The parents are finding them fish and seem to know that a fish half an inch long is the appropriate size for this size chick while later in the season they catch much larger fish for them.

The parents need to keep themselves in good shape and after dives are sometimes seen stretching their wings which also helps to get their feathers in order.

The parents are always looking for food for themselves and the chicks and, I guess, the chicks are interested in what is under water, too. Everyone is looking down to see what is going on…..

So, enjoy the loons from a distance. They need their space. 10 yards is way too close. If you ever see a “dancing loon”, one who is rising up out of the water as if walking on it, this loon is stressed! You are way to close! If they come up next to your boat, move away. We want all our chicks to survive so pass this information on to everyone you know and if you see people too close, say something.