June 15, 2021
At 6 am this morning an otter popped up at the edge of the raft and flushed the female off the nest. Quite a bit of commotion ensued, mainly splashing and wing rowing around the raft by the female. Apparently the otter took the hint and left.
If you watch the video, you’ll notice that the loon used a lot of upward thrust when jumping off the nest. In fact, it jumped so high that it hit the nest cover hard enough to rock the raft. That was a wise move by the loon. Eggs can be accidentally kicked out of the nest when a loon flushes. By jumping upwards, she avoided kicking the eggs backwards. It’s hard to say if it was intentional but it certainly was fortunate.
Would the otter have been a threat to the eggs? It’s hard to say. Otters are not on our regular list of loon egg predators but there have been anecdotal reports of them eating bird eggs. In the only reliable record we have of an otter having a clear chance of grabbing loon eggs out of the nest, the otter left the eggs untouched.