Squam Lakes Loon News—July 15 2020

I’m happy to report that the loon families are continuing to thrive on the Squam Lakes —- and we have some new additions! In the past 10 days, we had three more loon chicks hatch from two families on Squam. Sadly, one of those chicks died immediately after hatching and never left the nest, but fortunately its sibling is doing well. This brings us to 8 loon chicks between 6 families on Squam Lake, and the 2 chicks from the Little Squam family are growing by leaps and bounds! And hopefully there are more to come —- we still have 3 active nests on Squam Lake and my fingers are crossed for them!

I want to update you on what happened in the Perch Island territory since the female was killed by the boat collision. As you’ll recall, the nest continued to be active and continuously tended after her death, leading me to question whether the female who was killed had been evicted from the territory right before nesting began and the nest was with a different female. As I continued to watch the nest, it soon became apparent that this was *not* the case and the male was tending the nest by himself, making a truly heroic effort to keep the nest going after the female died. This was by no means easy —- he was trying to juggle feeding and taking care of himself while taking care of the eggs at the same time, and he no longer had his mate to share incubation duties with him. Finally it became too much —- eight days after she died, it was evident that he was struggling and starting to give up. By day 10, he was off the nest. Per Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) protocol, I marked the eggs to be certain they had been abandoned and then collected them (under LPC’s state and federal permits) the next day for our research. In a sad coincidence of timing, the day I collected them was the day after the eggs’ expected hatch date. The male gave it his all to care for the eggs, it was really impressive how hard he tried. He has continued to be in the territory, and an unbanded female is spending some time in the territory as well. Hopefully they are laying the groundwork for becoming a pair next year.

LPC is running our Lead Tackle Buyback program again this summer, so, if you haven’t done so already, please clean out those old tackle boxes in the garage or boathouse! Our friends at Squam Boat Livery are helping us again this year and are the location on the Squam Lakes to turn in your lead tackle and get a $10 voucher for anything at Squam Boats. The Loon Center is also a buyback location as well. Please spread the word to your neighbors and other lake users to use only non-lead tackle while fishing to protect loons and other wildlife and let them know about buyback program! For more information on Lead Tackle Buyback, please visit www.loonsafe.org.

LPC’s Thursday night nature talks are virtual this year due to the virus, and this Thursday Dr. Mark Pokras of Tufts University will be speaking on “Common Loons: Past, Present, and Future.” Dr. Pokras is a wonderful friend of LPC , loon scientist extraordinaire, and is the pre-eminent authority on loon mortality, having necropsied several thousand loons over the years, including most of the loon collected by LPC. You can find more information about his talk here: https://loon.org/event/summer-nature-talk-series-2/. I hope you will join us to hear Dr. Pokras this Thursday, July 16th, at 7:00 pm by clicking here: https://www.youtube.com/user/looncenter. If you cannot make it at the scheduled time, the talk will be available at the same link for later viewing.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or reports, and please report any sick, injured, or dead loons to Loon Preservation Committee at (603) 476-5666.