June 20, 2023
It’s been about seven weeks that we’ve been watching our cam 1 pair try to maintain control over the territory, sometimes with as many as three intruders at the same time. The female was seen beached once, which is strong evidence that she was in an altercation with an intruding female. However, she appears to be back in the water and holding her own.
Things have quieted down some. Lately, for the most part, we’ve only been seeing three loons with very little antagonistic behavior. It seems they are in a stalemate; sort of like your deadbeat uncle comes for a visit and refuses to leave.
Such a situation is not that rare. Sometimes it can last an entire season or even multiple seasons. I can remember two instances from my field biology days where the reluctant couple tolerated the uninvited guest through an entire season. The three were even seen working together to chase off a new intruder and taking a daytime nap together, all within 10 feet of each other. Any thoughts of nesting were abandoned; it came to simply accepting their fate and staying on territory.
Is that what’s happening on Cam 1? It sure seems like it. There’s only two weeks left until it will be too late to start a nest that has any reasonable chance of producing a surviving chick that’s ready to fly off the lake before ice-in. The pair hasn’t even shown any interest in the nesting raft. The situation would have to change very quickly.