Egg Turning

If you’ve ever raised chickens from eggs, you’re aware that egg turning is an important part of the incubation process and it is essential for the proper development of the embryo. Turning the eggs distributes the heat more evenly and prevents the membrane from sticking to the shell. It’s the same thing for loons. Loons typically turn the eggs when they start a nest-sitting shift and occasionally during the shift.
In this video, the female climbs back onto the nest after a brief swim and proceeds to turn the eggs numerous times. This appears to be more for the comfort of the loon than for the benefit of the eggs. Notice that by the third turn of the eggs, they are precariously close to the edge of the nest. Fortunately, she pushes them back toward the center.
Loons do on occasion accidentally push eggs out of the nest. When this happens, the loons are not able to rescue the egg. In 2015, after a successful hatch of one chick, we found a second egg in the water next to this nest. That egg is now in the LPC repository where the contents can be used for various scientific studies.