July 11, 2023
It was a successful hatch. Chick 1 emerged from its shell at 9:59 pm on July 8 and Chick 2 joined the fun around 3:30 pm on the 9th. At 17.5 hours, this was one of the shorter durations between hatches.
Much to our relief, Chick 2 was a feisty one and when the inevitable sibling brawl developed, #2 held its own. It took quite a beating but it kept fighting back. After a few minutes the chicks rolled off the raft in a mutual bear hug and thus was started the aquatic portion of the contest. Chick 1 won by a technical knockout when Chick 2 played dead by floating face down in the water. But by the time #1 climbed back on the raft to receive the gold medal #2 was attacking from behind and trying to drag #1 back in the water. And then #1 was doing the dragging. Mom intervened by inserting her bill between the two and forcing them to accept a truce.
Mom and Dad gave the chicks a couple of days near the nesting area to work things out to a mutual toleration. But the long stay also could have been due to neighboring loons standing between them and the brooding area (shades of last year’s siege). It’s likely that it was a combination of the two that made them stay near the nest. The chicks got to eat and practice their swimming skills, as well as learning to quickly climb up on their parents’ backs. Good skills to have when cruising through treacherous waters.
At 7:47 am today the family left the nesting area. A few minutes later we heard a short chorus of yodels and tremolos, an announcement of their territorial rights. Two strong and healthy chicks and two proud parents. You can’t do better than that!