Anyone who has been watching the nest cam for awhile or reading the chat on YouTube is aware that a loon pair shares the nest tending duties. Now that we’ve reached Day #10 of nesting, the loons have settled into a mostly predictable routine. Dad does the day shift and Mom does the night shift. The morning shift change is the most predictable and usually occurs around 6 am.
Although length of shifts and timing of exchanges can vary between nesting pairs, it’s common for the female to take on most of the night time duties. Nesting behavior studies show that the female typically takes on more of the nest duties later in the incubation process but that may not be true of this pair. Last year, the hatching had just begun during the morning shift change and Dad ended up overseeing the hatch and taking on babysitting duties for the entire day. By the time Mom first saw her chick in the late afternnon, it was already ambulatory and had it’s first (and second) swim.