Loon Neighbors

Nesting loons have numerous wildlife neighbors that share the nest site. During the daytime it’s common to see painted turtles sunning themselves near or even on the loon nest. Snapping turtles are another common visitor. They are not much of a threat to the nest but they are known to snag an unprotected chick in the water.
The nighttime visitors are less likely to be noticed by loon watchers. One of the most common nocturnal neighbors is the muskrat. This clip shows a muskrat collecting pond vegetation around the nest. Loons and muskrats seem to display a mutual tolerance.
But on the other hand, muskrats can be a nuisance to LPC’s management efforts. When foraging, they tend to gather food items and bring them to a feeding platform. Loon nesting rafts make great feeding platforms, so a frequent chore of ours is to clean off all the empty mussel shells and a summer’s worth of feeding can result in quite a pile! The muskrats also sometimes prefer to tunnel up through the raft rather than climb up over the edge. We have to add steel wire mesh to the bottoms of the nesting rafts to prevent them from becoming Swiss cheese.