In the 1980s, the the loons on this territory used a natural nest on an island, which is the loons’ preferred nest site. But also by the 1980s, New Hampshire’s lakes had experienced a two decade boom in lakeside camps and second homes, culminating in the appearance of “McMansions” – stately houses of extreme square footage and manicured grounds going right up to the shore.
With the arrival and disruption of more human activity followed by the human-adapted scavengers (raccoons, skunks, foxes etc.), the loon habitat quality soon degraded. By 1989, the territory was experiencing nest failures due to mammalian predation of the eggs. The loons tried nesting on the edge of the marsh but the raccoons still found them. And in one year it was possibly a boat wake that caused the nest to fail.
LPC first put this raft out in 1992. As you can see, it is out in the open, exposed to boat wakes and the wind whipping across the cove, but it is the best option available. Any other spot is either in front of a camp, too close to the boat channels, or too close to the nearby public boat launch. This is certainly not a unique situation. That’s why LPC currently floats about 100 nesting rafts each year. We would prefer that the loons use a natural nest site, but in too many cases the natural nest site has been gobbled up by human development.