The poor chick didn’t last half a day. The local eagle, who we know has been keeping tabs on the nest, swooped in at 9:06 this morning and grabbed the chick. Mom put up the best fight she could but had to stay in the water to protect herself. If the chick had been in the water she would have had a better chance of defending it. But with the chick on the nest the eagle had the better advantage.
LPC has been considering putting a raft on this site because of water level fluctuation issues. Now we have another reason. An avian predator guard, which we use on all our rafts now, almost certainly would have prevented loss of the chick, although it would have been likely the eagle would have made some attempts after the chick was in the water.
We at LPC try to use judicious judgment when implementing nesting rafts. We would rather have the New Hampshire loon population recover via natural nest sites. For that reason, we only deploy rafts when a loon territory has consistently experienced nest failures due to water level change or egg predation. This territory here has had a history of nesting success using a natural nest site. But now we have two reasons to consider installing a nesting raft.