Waiting for the Dust to Settle . . .

July 15, 2022

Isn’t that the way with the Loon Cam 2 pair; they always have us on the edge of our seats. I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s start with the chicks. Chick 1 hatched in the afternoon of July 12, a day or two ahead of schedule but we only had a rough estimate of when the egg was laid. Chick 2 hatched in the early afternoon on the following day. Shortly after that, Dad lost #1 because he was preoccupied with his own thoughts. #1 spent three hours imprinting on a buoy before the LPC biologists took pity on it, scarfed it up and delivered it back to the nest (but not before weighing it: 90 grams). At first, Mom seemed pleased to have #1 back in the nest. But soon #2 picked a fight with #1, who appeared to #2 to be a newcomer. It was the most evenly matched, knock down, drag out chick brawl I ever witnessed. Just before they were ready to resort to broken beer bottles they tumbled off the raft, each in a death grip of the other. That didn’t slow them down. Mom had to get in the water and break it up.

But let’s talk about Dad. He didn’t seem to be into the whole fatherhood thing. He was happy to let Mom to all the chick sitting while he went gallivanting off to do whatever. And when Mom wanted to to take a break, he just sat there with a confused look on his face. When Mom and the chicks were ready to go, he just took off without them. Chatters on the Loon Cam began suggesting that we had a deadbeat dad on our hands. The final straw was when Dad caught a minnow, showed it to the chicks and then ate it himself. That got him off everyone’s Christmas Card list.

Turns out Dad had a reason to be preoccupied. Unknown to us, there was an interloper on the territory who wanted Dad out of the picture. There were really no hints about that until it culminated in a battle for the territory in the early afternoon of the 14th. Watch it; it’s impressive. The family made numerous attempts to get the chicks toward the brooding area but it wasn’t until this morning that it appears they made any headway. Locals have reported that the family is in the next cove and still intact, although also still on guard. I have high hopes for them. Dad may be an airhead but he’s a hell of a fighter.