Some viewers have have been concerned that turtles have been using the empty nest as a basking platform. Almost all of these turtles are painted turtles; They rarely get more than ten inches in length, they are plant eaters, and they are no threat to the loons or the nest. In fact, they often simultaneously share a nesting raft with the loons.
Yesterday we had a snapping turtle on the nest. Snappers are a bit more of a threat to loons, but mostly to young chicks in the water. There have been some recorded altercations between adult loons and snapping turtles but the loon’s speed and agility give them a defensive advantage. Snappers are not known to be a significant nest predation threat.
Other common nest visitors include herons, which use nests and rafts as resting spots and observation platforms; and muskrats, which often use nests as feeding platforms. Loons manage to cohabitate with both of these species.
One species whose presence can affect loon nesting is geese. Geese have similar nest location preferences and they typically initiate nesting earlier than loons do. If a pair of geese nests on a loon nest site, this could delay loon nest initiation.