It’s awfully tough to see what’s going on at this new nest site but we have confirmed two eggs in the nest. If you watch very closely you’ll see mom rolling one egg toward her; right about at the point she stops rolling that egg, there is another egg behind it. Look for a blotch of olive-drab with black spots. The spots won’t be visible without a high-definition screen.
Two eggs are typical for loons, especially for an experienced pair on the initial nest attempt of the season. One egg nests are common for young, inexperienced loons and for many second nest attempts (when the eggs don’t hatch for any reason on the first attempt. Three egg nests have been reported but are very rare; certainly less than one in a thousand.
In comparison, waterfowl such as geese and mergansers are capable of laying over a dozen eggs. On occasion we will hear from someone of a loon pair with a large number of chicks. When we do, we can be certain that it was a case of mistaken identity. During the last few years we have documented two loon pairs that, at least temporarily, had three chicks. In both cases it occurred on multiple territory lakes and the evidence pointed to a loon chick mistakenly imprinting on the wrong parents. This probably happened when an intruder entered the true parents’ territory and caused a disruption that separated the chick and parents.