Loon Cam 2: The Territory

July 3, 2022

Now that the drama of Loon Cam 1 is over (and jubilantly successful), we turn our attention to the Cam 2 pair. Although the situation appears rather tame compared to Cam 1, The history of the Cam 2 territory is rife with upheaval.

The earliest record of loon occupation on this territory is 1987, although this may be because the pair moved the nest to a different island and it was assigned as a new territory. But there has never been a year when both islands had nests and the brooding area is believed to be the same for both territories. There were two years of successful nesting on the new island before development pressure and the raccoons that are attracted by the food opportunity of developed areas caused successive years of nest failures.

In 1992 LPC decided to install a raft. The challenge was where to put it and the chosen location was a compromise. This small cove was the only spot away from the boat traffic and the densely packed shoreline camps. The down side was that the nest was separated from the brooding area by a small cove of loon anarchy, given various names by LPC biologists such as “The DMZ” and “The Crossroads.” It all has to do with the geography of the lake, which in this area consists of densely packed, interconnected coves with numerous loon territories.

It is a challenging territory in which to successfully hatch and raise chicks, or even to just hold onto. In the past twenty years, there have been six times that total chaos has prevented nesting (one lasting for two years) and LPC couldn’t even identify a resident pair; just a number of loons harassing each other. Of the thirteen years with a resident pair, we know of at least five males and three females that held the territory during that time.

Despite the turbulent environment, in those twenty years the loons have managed to hatch 15 chicks, ten of which survived to the end of the season. So we have a 75% chance of a successful hatch and a 50% chance of a surviving chick. That’s pretty close to the statewide average.