Loon Cam 2 Pair and Territory

Now that the Loon Cam 2 pair is almost half-way through its incubation period, it’s time to clear up some confusion about the history of the pair and reading the bands on the loons’ legs.

In 2016, intruding loons interfered on this territory enough to cause a nest failure. Without a nest or chicks to defend, the bond deteriorated between the pair, which had been together on the territory since 2013. The rest of the 2016 season was chaos with no clear resident pair.

In 2017, the current male and female emerged as the new resident pair and immediately began nesting. They successfully hatched and raised a chick, which suggests that both of these loons probably had previous nesting experience on other territories. We know that the male did because he was banded in 2006 on a nearby territory on the same lake. We banded the female this same year (2017), so we don’t know her previous history.

Both loons have two bands on each leg.
Female left: A white stripe band (white band with a dark stripe through the middle) over a blue band
Female right: A silver band (the aluminum USFWS band with a unique number) over a yellow stripe band (yellow band with dark stripe in middle)
Male left: A red band over a white band
Male right: A silver (aluminum) band over a red dot band (a red band with a white dot in the middle)

And by one band being over the other, it means it’s the closer one to the location the leg is attached to the body. It’s easy for people to mess that up when the loon is sitting on the nest. Closer to its rear end might be a better way of putting it. The standard practice is to put the silver band on the right leg when the loon is banded as an adult and on the left leg when the loon is banded in its hatch year.

This territory has been monitored since the mid 1980s. The nest site was originally on an island but new development in the 70s and 80s caused a deterioration of the nesting habitat that resulted in increased terrestrial egg predation. The raft was added in 1992. Since then, the average annual chicks surviving rate has been 0.643, which is higher than the statewide average. This pair has fledged 2 surviving chicks in the three years it has been on territory (0.667).