Loon Cam 2: A Checkered Past

June 27, 2021

While we’re waiting for the dust to settle in what appears to be a contest over territorial rights, now is a good time to take a look at the history of this territory. The LPC records for this territory begin in 1987 and can be neatly divided into four periods.

The Dark Age 1987-1996     We can call these ten years the dark age for two reasons. First, it was during this time that LPC was just starting to band loons and none of the occupants on this territory were banded. Consequently, we don’t know how much continuity there was within the pair or how many different individual loons occupied the territory during these ten years. Second, it was a time of turmoil. The natural island nest was experiencing heavy egg predation. In 1992 a raft was introduced and, although the pair successfully used it the first year, they then returned to a natural nest that failed. Over the entire ten year period this territory only fledged four chicks.

The Reign of King Henry IV 1998-2003     Why King Henry the 4th? Because he had half as many wives as King Henry the 8th. 1997 was a year of territorial conflict. There was no nesting and no definite territorial pair. By early 1998 a new pair was established. They successfully hatched two chicks and fledged one. King Henry’s coronation occurred that year, when he and his mate were banded. Henry had a very successful reign. In his six confirmed years he hatched eleven chicks and reared nine of them to survive to the end of the breeding season. That’s an incredible chick survival rate of 1.5, about three times as high as the average productivity rate. Henry accomplished this feat with three different mates, all banded either previously or on this territory.

The Reign of Queen Victoria 2003-2015     She earns the title of Queen Victoria because she reigned longer than any of the previous monarchs on this territory. In 2003 she became the third and last mate of King Henry IV. That year they successfully hatched and raised two chicks. Victoria received her bands and became the reigning queen. The following ten years were hard times; only one chick was fledged and there was no nest attempt on four of the years. 2014 was a turn-around year; Victoria and her third mate, who first showed up in 2013, hatched and fledged two chicks. And they did it on a natural island nest, the first and only time a natural nest was chosen over the raft since 1993. Victoria and Prince Albert III stayed together for two more years, producing one more surviving chick.

The Loon Cam Era 2016-Present     2016 was another year of turmoil. Although Albert the 3rd was confirmed to have returned to the territory, Victoria was seen strutting her stuff in multiple territories. The evidence leans toward an unbanded female being Albert’s mate. They nested but the nest failed. In 2017 there was a new male on territory; he was originally banded on a neighboring territory in 2006. Loon Cam viewers know him simply as “Dad.” Dad and an unbanded female (quite possibly the same female as 2016) hatched and fledged a chick. The female was banded and officially became “Mom.” The rest of their history is scattered in previous blog posts. Suffice it to say that they have hatched five chicks and fledged three in the past four years. That’s a record to be proud of. LPC would love to see this pair continue to reign on the territory but only time will tell. It’s all up to the loons.